Household hazardous waste

It is important to dispose of household hazardous waste safely. Household hazardous waste includes everyday products. These can include bleach, garden and pool chemicals, and cleaning solvents purchased from supermarkets and hardware stores. Find out how you can safely dispose of hazardous household waste in Brisbane. 

Storing household hazardous waste

Storing household chemicals around your home after you no longer need them, means you could:

  • injure or poison someone if they drink, inhale or get burnt by them
  • endanger yourself and your property if the chemicals ignite, explode or release toxic fumes in the event of fire
  • receive a fine for damaging the environment if the chemicals leak while stored or handled.

Disposing of household hazardous waste

Disposing of hazardous materials in your general waste or recycling bin is not safe. They can be flammable, corrosive, explosive or toxic. Hazardous materials can cause fires in bins or garbage trucks, creating a safety hazard for truck drivers, the community and environment.

Use the safe disposal methods table to dispose of your household hazardous waste correctly. Council offers free household hazardous waste disposal days throughout the year. These disposal days are for items that cannot be disposed via sewers, rubbish bins or Council facilities during general operations.

Free drop-off days

Throughout the year, Brisbane residents can drop off the items indicated in the safe disposal methods table. You can do this for free on designated collection days. Items must remain in their original containers and not be mixed.

A 20 litre limit for each chemical or product applies per customer per visit. The following items are accepted at Council's resource recovery centres:

  • batteries (household and lead acid batteries)
  • empty gas bottles (a maximum of six bottles of up to nine kilograms)
  • electronic waste
  • fluorescent light bulbs and tubes.

Paint and engine oil (hydrocarbon oil) quantities up to 100 litres per customer per visit are accepted at Council’s resource recovery centres. Due to workplace health and safety, paint and oil containers must not exceed 20 litres per container.

The list below is the projected dates for free drop-off days for 2020. You can also view the What's on in Brisbane calendar to see dates and times of upcoming drop-off days.

Table for upcoming free drop-off days for household hazardous waste.
Date Resource recovery centre
7 March 2020 Willawong
6 June 2020 Ferny Grove
5 September 2020 Chandler
5 December 2020 Nudgee

Safe disposal methods for potentially hazardous household waste

Read how to dispose of waste from your:

Bathroom

Table contains types of household hazardous waste items for disposal from the bathroom.
Material Sewer * Resource recovery centre Rubbish bin * Free drop-off days
Aftershaves, perfumes and other lotions Yes No No No
Bathroom cleaners and disinfectants Yes No No No
Hair care products Yes No No No
Medicines (past use by date) No + No No No
Wet wipes No ++ No Yes No
Cotton buds No No Yes No

+ medicines - while it is acceptable to dispose of small quantities of medicines to sewer, it is better to return them to the pharmacy where they were purchased

++ wet wipes - although commonly marked 'flushable' the majority of wet wipes are unsuitable for disposal to sewer. Dispose wet wipes in your rubbish bin instead

* sewer - after mixing the chemical with lots of water, you can put small quantities of these products down the sewer (through your toilet or sink). Never put these chemicals into septic tanks or down stormwater drains because they will harm the environment

* rubbish bin - you can only put small amounts of household hazardous waste in your rubbish bin. Small amounts of liquid, such as hair products and paint, can be dried and solidified by adding a material to soak up the liquid such as kitty litter, soil or grass clippings. Alternatively, pour liquids onto newspaper and cover them with absorbent material. You can place empty hair product containers and paint tins with minimal paint residue in your recycling bin.

Kitchen

Table contains types of household hazardous waste items for disposal from the kitchen.
Material Sewer * Resource recovery centre Rubbish bin * Free drop-off days
Cooking oil No No Yes No
Insect sprays No No No Yes
Drain cleaner/disinfectant Yes No No No
Floor care products No No Yes Yes
Metal polish with solvent No No Yes Yes
Window and ammonia based cleaners Yes No No No

* sewer - after mixing the chemical with lots of water, you can put small quantities of these products down the sewer (through your toilet or sink). Never put these chemicals into septic tanks or down stormwater drains because they will harm the environment

* rubbish bin - you can only put small amounts of household hazardous waste in your rubbish bin. Small amounts of liquid, such as paint, can be dried and solidified by adding a material to soak up the liquid such as kitty litter, soil or grass clippings. Alternatively, pour liquids onto newspaper and cover them with absorbent material. You can place empty paint tins with minimal paint residue in your recycling bin.

Garage

Table contains types of household hazardous waste items for disposal from the garage.
Material Sewer * Resource recovery centre Rubbish bin * Free drop-off days
Antifreeze Yes No No Yes
Car batteries No Yes (lead acid type only) No Yes
Brake fluid No No No Yes
Motor oil, sump oil and gear oil No Yes No Yes
Petrol and marine fuel No No No Yes
Windshield washer solution Yes No No No

* sewer - after mixing the chemical with lots of water, you can put small quantities of these products down the sewer (through your toilet or sink). Never put these chemicals into septic tanks or down stormwater drains because they will harm the environment

* rubbish bin - you can only put small amounts of household hazardous waste in your rubbish bin. Small amounts of liquid, such as paint, can be dried and solidified by adding a material to soak up the liquid such as kitty litter, soil or grass clippings. Alternatively, pour liquids onto newspaper and cover them with absorbent material. You can place empty paint tins with minimal paint residue in your recycling bin.

Garden

Table contains types of household hazardous waste items for disposal from the garden.
Material Sewer * Resource recovery centre Rubbish bin * Free drop-off days
Fungicide/insecticide No No No Yes
Herbicides and weed killers No No No Yes

* sewer - after mixing the chemical with lots of water, you can put small quantities of these products down the sewer (through your toilet or sink). Never put these chemicals into septic tanks or down stormwater drains because they will harm the environment

* rubbish bin - you can only put small amounts of household hazardous waste in your rubbish bin. Small amounts of liquid, such as paint, can be dried and solidified by adding a material to soak up the liquid such as kitty litter, soil or grass clippings. Alternatively, pour liquids onto newspaper and cover them with absorbent material. You can place empty paint tins with minimal paint residue in your recycling bin.

Other

Table contains types of other household hazardous waste items for disposal.
Material Sewer * Resource recovery centre Rubbish bin * Free drop-off days
Batteries No Yes+ Yes Yes
Paints and mediums No Yes (maximum 20 litres per container and 100 litres per customer) Yes (only dried small quantities) Yes (maximum 20 litres per container and 100 litres per customer)
Dry-cleaning solvents No No No Yes
Fibre glass resins No No Yes Yes
Ink cartridges** No No Yes (only if empty) Yes
Empty gas bottles No Yes (maximum of six bottles of up to nine kilograms) No Yes (maximum of six bottles of up to nine kilograms)
Swimming pool chemicals No No No Yes
Photographic chemicals No No No Yes
Smoke detectors No No Yes Yes
Fire extinguishers No No No Yes
Compact fluorescent light bulbs No Yes Yes Yes
Asbestos No No No No

+ batteries - some retailers offer a free battery recycling service all year round. Find more information about battery recycling at Planet Ark.

* sewer - after mixing the chemical with lots of water, you can put small quantities of these products down the sewer (through your toilet or sink). Never put these chemicals into septic tanks or down stormwater drains because they will harm the environment

* rubbish bin - you can only put small amounts of household hazardous waste in your rubbish bin. Small amounts of liquid, such as paint, can be dried and solidified by adding a material to soak up the liquid such as kitty litter, soil or grass clippings. Alternatively, pour liquids onto newspaper and cover them with absorbent material. You can place empty paint tins with minimal paint residue in your recycling bin.

** ink cartridges - you can recycle your ink cartridges through one of the many drop-off points coordinated by Planet Ark. Printer cartridges are made up of many different materials including plastic, metal, foam, ink and toner, and using a collection point helps ensure any recoverable materials are not sent to landfill. Find your nearest collection point by selecting 'Where to Recycle' on the Planet Ark catridges webpage

More information

For further information about hazardous waste, Contact Council.

For trade waste, contact Queensland Urban Utilities.

Last updated:10 December 2019
Topics: waste