Hazardous and Electronic Waste

Household Hazardous Waste

Household Hazardous Waste is defined as “household products containing toxic chemicals.” These products usually have labels saying “Warning” or “Caution” and may also be identified as poisonous, toxic, flammable, corrosive, reactive, or explosive.

Montgomery County offers several Household Hazardous Waste collection events each year. Each event is at a different location, but county residents may bring materials to any of the locations.  See 2017 Household Hazardous Waste events for more information, or call the recycling line at 610-278-3618.

Montgomery County’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection events will accept the following materials:

  • Automotive products including car batteries, motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, antifreeze, kerosene, and gasoline.
  • Pesticides and herbicides.
  • Household products including caustic cleaners and solvents, i.e. drain and oven cleaners, spot remover, dry cleaning fluid, and rug cleaners.
  • Paint products including paint thinner or turpentine, paint remover, oil based paint, furniture stripper, stains, varnish, and refinisher. Latex or water-based paint is not hazardous and should be allowed to dry completely, then disposed of in regular trash.
  • Miscellaneous products including mercury thermometers, flares, fire extinguishers, lead acid batteries, rechargeable batteries, fluorescent tube light bulbs, CFL bulbs, mini propane canisters, electric oil-filled heaters, dyes, lighter fluids, concrete or asphalt sealers, and swimming pool chemicals.

The following items will not be accepted: electronics, appliances, asbestos, latex or water-based paint, explosives, ammunition, ordinance material, infectious biologically-active wastes, prescription medications, large pressured cylinders, radioactive material, alkaline household batteries, smoke detectors, items containing Freon, propane tanks, and tires.

Click for information on 2017 tire collection locations or for information on disposal of other specific items.

Note that amounts are limited to 25 gallons or 220 pounds per vehicle, in containers of no more than 5 gallons each.  Materials are taken on a first-come, first-served basis.

To safely transport Household Hazardous Waste, follow these guidelines:

  • Keep all products in original containers with the labels intact.
  • Wrap leaking containers in newspaper and place in plastic bag or garbage container making sure that all lids and caps are secure.
  • Place items securely in a box for transport.
  • Keep chemicals which may react with one another in separate parts of the vehicle.
  • Do not leave materials in hot, unventilated areas for long periods of time.
  • Do not smoke near chemicals.

For more information, visit Montgomery County’s Home Hazardous Waste Page or call the Recycling Hotline at 610-278-3618.  Also note that Home Depot accepts rechargeable batteries and CFL bulbs for recycling and Best Buy accepts rechargeable batteries.  See below for neighboring Counties Household Hazardous Waste Recycling Programs:

Bucks County; Chester County; Delaware County; Philadelphia County

Computer and Electronics Recycling

Consumers are required to keep covered devices, such as computers, laptops, monitors, and televisions, out of the trash, as required by The Pennsylvania Covered Device Recycling Act enacted in 2010.  It is important to recycle computers and electronics because they contain materials that can become hazardous if not properly handled. Many of the materials used in electronics are valuable when recycled for use in new electronics.

If the electronics you want to discard are relatively new and in good condition, consider donating them for refurbishing. Visit www.electronicstakeback.com for more information from the Electronics TakeBack Coalition about the importance of recycling electronics.  Refer to the Montgomery County website for a list of hazardous waste and electronic waste collection sites and other County related recycling news.

Recycling Electronic Devices

Because of Pennsylvania’s electronics recycling law, trash and recycle haulers will no longer pick up televisions, computers, and other electronic devices from curbs for disposal in the waste stream.  Electronic devices include televisions, computers, laptops, monitors, CPU’s, printers, scanners, keyboards, mouse devices, speakers, cables and battery backups.

The law also requires manufacturers of devices to provide for the collection, transportation and recycling of these devices by establishing one-day events, permanent collection programs or mail-in programs.  Some manufacturers offer take-back and recycling programs to allow consumers to return their products safely.  Under The Pennsylvania Covered Device Recycling Act, manufacturers of covered electronic devices must establish, conduct, and manage a plan to collect, transport, and recycle a quantity of covered electronic devices equal to the manufacturer’s market share.  Manufacturers must annually register with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and provide for the free collection and recycling of covered devices to Pennsylvania consumers.

Electronic products are made from valuable resources and materials, including metals, plastics, and glass, all of which require energy to mine and manufacture.   Donating or recycling consumer electronics conserves natural resources and avoids air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by manufacturing virgin materials.

Items Eligible to be Collected Under this Program

A covered electronic computer device is a computer (desktop, laptop), computer monitor, and computer peripheral (printer, keyboard, mouse, or any other device sold exclusively for external use with a computer that provides input or output into or from a computer).  A covered television is a television with screen size greater than 4 inches measured diagonally.

Cell phones are not part of The Pennsylvania Covered Device Recycling Act, but it is still important to recycle Cell phones, and it’s easy to recycle them.  Click on reusing or recycling cell phones for more information.

Before donating or recycling a computer, it is important to remove all personal information.  Visit Ten Tips for Donating a Computer for a list of disk-cleaning software, as well as other suggestions for donating your computer.  If you plan to recycle your computer, you should still clear your personal information first.

Where to Recycle Your Covered Device

Unfortunately, Montgomery County was not able to hold many electronics collection events in 2016, as manufacturers are no longer sponsoring county recycling collections in the Southeastern Pennsylvania region, though state law requires electronics manufacturers to offer recycling opportunities for TVs and computers. An amendment to the Covered Device Recycling Act is needed to ensure the availability of recycling outlets.  Some municipalities hold electronics collections for their residents.  Check with your municipality.  You may be able to recycle your covered electronic devices at special recycling events held by schools or some non-profit institutions.  Refer to the Montgomery County website for a list of hazardous waste and electronic waste collection sites and other County related recycling news.