Hazardous household waste (HHW) includes a large number of commonly used products. Although they represent only 1% of the waste produced by Quebec households, they contribute significantly to the toxicity of a landfill site if they are disposed of in household garbage. As well, the dumping of hazardous waste in sewers can have serious consequences for the environment.
Anything generated in the home that is corrosive, flammable, toxic, explosive, oxidizing or leachable (mostly called solvents) constitutes HHW.
HHW represents a physical hazard (explosion), a health hazard and/or an environmental hazard if not properly disposed of and treated. Therefore, they must be handled, stored, and transported with care while being disposed of safely.
Other characteristics may also be associated with HHW that warrant special management. Some products, such as computer equipment or batteries, contain several chemicals and heavy metals (mercury, lead, chromium, cadmium, etc.) that can lead to soil contamination and water pollution.
Did you know? One litre of oil can contaminate one million litres of water.
How to recognize HHW?
Ask yourself these two questions: Would I put this product on my skin? Would I put this product in my mouth? If you answer "No" to either of these two questions, the product should be considered as HHW.
HHW can usually be recognized by pictogram(s) found on the product label. HHW most often comes in liquid, viscous, paste, gas or powder form.
The presence of symbols may help to identify some HHW:
All HHW does not include such symbols, for example, paint, oil, batteries, compact fluorescent lights, car batteries, and medications, are often packaged without warnings on labels. HHW is also not always stored in its original container (old cans or containers).
How to safely store your HHW?
HHW should be stored in leak-proof containers, out of the reach of children and animals.
Avoid pouring or mixing products; this can cause dangerous chemical reactions and/or produce toxic gases (in addition to reducing the possibility of reuse, recycling or energy recovery of materials).
The accumulation of HHW should be avoided; its presence is a common cause of fire and can be a health hazard.
What to do with HHW?
It is important to never dispose of HHW in your household garbage, in the sewer system or more broadly in nature. HHW also has no place in the regular collection of recyclable materials.
HHW must be deposited at appropriate and designated disposal sites. Once recovered from these locations, HHW is sent to specialized industries for processing and recycling.
You can return your HHW at mobile collection sites offered free of charge to all citizens of the MRC.
The MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent collects HHW during mobile collections at temporary sites according to a set schedule. The collection of HHW is accessible to residents of the 13 municipalities within the territory of the MRC. Only household products are accepted. Others – such as agricultural, industrial and/or commercial waste – will not be accepted.
In 2020, collections will take place on the following dates, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.:
August 29: 5001 Route 132, Saint-Anicet (municipal garage)
September 19: 9 St. Paul Street, Ormstown (Ecocentre)
October 10: 1180 Route 203, Très-Saint-Sacrement (Town Hall)
The list of accepted HWW and products as well as the collections guidelines will follow in the next sections.
Some types of HHW can be returned to a municipal depot/town hall, pharmacy or retailer.
(section to come)
Did you know? Smoke detectors are safe to be thrown in the garbage (recommended by the Ministry of the Environment because of their low radioactivity per unit), as can light bulbs (incandescent).
HHW and other products accepted at the MRC's mobile collections
The following types of HHW will be accepted at the MRC's mobile collections:
In the garage: Oils (engine, brake, transmission), oil filters, antifreeze (vehicle, plumbing, gas line), lubricant (ex: WD-40), car paint, anti-rust, coolant, brake cleaner, car cleaners (ex: window washer), fuel (gasoline, diesel, kerosene), grease, car wax, rust remover, body putty, car batteries, muriatic acid, acetone, ski wax, etc.
In the bathroom: Rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, nail polish, nail polish remover (acetone), bleach, hair dyes (ammonia, oxidizing cream), hairspray, cologne/perfume, thermometers (mercury), toilet bowl cleaners, etc.
In the laundry room: Detergents, fabric softeners, stain removers, dry cleaning products, bleach, waterproofing products for leather, shoe polish/stain, etc.
In the garden/yard: Pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, fungicide), mosquito repellent, rat poison, chemical fertilizers/fertilizers, pool and spa products (algicide, chlorine, chlorine stabilizer, clarifier, defoamer), veterinary products, flea powder, BBQ lighter fluid, cooking fuel (e.g., water-based products): Naphtha), propane/butane cylinders (empty or full), sealants (driveway), coatings (roof, foundation, asphalt, wood), cement powder, concrete cleaner, etc.
In the workshop: Water-based paint (latex), oil-based paint (alkyd), metal paint, paint for artistic use, antifouling paint, primers, stain, varnish, oil (e.g. flax), lacquer (e.g. Shellac), wood protector, all aerosols (empty or full), solvents (e.g. acetone, ethanol, xylene), turpentine, metal powder, paint thinner (e.g. Varsol), paint remover, strong glue (solvent-based), caulking products, silicones, sealant, glues, resins and adhesives (ceramic, flooring, polymer, etc.), wood preservative, crack filler, inks, roofing tar, protective coating (floor, asphalt driveway), grout, plastic cement (coating), joint compound, plaster of Paris, ceramic grout, hardener/mastic (wood, fibreglass, etc.), epoxy products, hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid, etc.
Throughout the house: Batteries (rechargeable, non-rechargeable), gas lighter, lighters (with contents), heating oil, mineral spirits (lamp, home fragrance), ethanol (fireplace), compact fluorescent light bulbs (twisted, unbroken), fluorescent tubes (unbroken)*, Christmas lights, carpet cleaner, fabric dye, naphthalene, ink cartridges, etc.
*Other lamps: High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps, UHP/mercury arc lamps (including home theatre projectors and wall-mounted video devices), UV lamps and germicides, etc.
Containers soiled with paint and oil or empty are accepted at the collections.
The following are not accepted: products from industrial or commercial activities (paint, neon lights1, expired pesticides from agricultural use2, etc.), tires (returned to participating garages), medications (returned to pharmacies), ammunition/road flares and fireworks (returned to the police station). 1 For large quantities: recycfluo.ca2 Next collection: Fall 2020: cleanfarms.ca
If in doubt, you may contact Emilie Escafit at email@example.com or 450-264-5411 ext. 225.
Other products accepted during mobile collections in the MRC are the following:
Electronics, computer equipment and devices:
Cellular devices, pagers, telephones, video game consoles, MP3 players, headphones, laptop or desktop computers, tablets, televisions, home theatre systems, radios, cameras, HD antennas, speakers, bar code readers, odometers, various peripherals: terminal adapters, cables, chargers, keyboards, USB keys, external hard drives, printers, mice, routers, remote controls, etc.
A Detailed list is available on the website for EPRA-Québec.
EPRA-Québec’s Recycle My Electronics program will take charge of all electronics brought to the collection event.
Small and medium-sized appliances, household appliances and refrigerants:
Electrical equipment and appliances: All products weighing less than 100 lb/50 kg (e.g. dishwasher, microwave oven, compact freezer and refrigerator less than 3 cu. ft. (empty), air conditioner, dehumidifier, water cooler)
Other electrical or battery-powered equipment and appliances are also accepted (e.g. coffee maker, sweepers, hair dryer, drill).
Large appliances (over 100 lb/50 kg) are not accepted.
While not considered dangerous products, you may also bring metal objects (100 lb/50 kg and less) to the collection.
Mobile Collections Instructions and Guidelines
Instructions for disposing of HHW at collections:
Bring your HHW in the original container, otherwise in identified sealed containers.
Report any product where the origin is unknown to collection staff on site.
No decanting will be permitted at the collection site.
Deposit HHW, at scheduled times only, as this waste is toxic and accidents could occur if it is left unattended.
In order to facilitate the recovery and processing of HHW, identify your products well, with the original label if possible.
Guidelines for your visit (COVID-19):
Wear a mask or face covering and respect social distancing measures.
Wait for instructions from an employee.
Take HHW out yourself and put it on the table provided.
Take back your packaging (boxes, bags, etc.).
An employee at the reception desk will inform you of the instructions to be followed and will direct traffic on site. Please note that due to these measures, wait times may be longer.
How can we reduce the use of hazardous household products?
Our consumption habits directly influence the amount of HHW we generate. We can contribute to the sound management of HHW through source reduction or waste prevention and through the reuse of products.
Here are a few tips to reduce the amount of HHW in circulation:
Avoid buying products identified with a hazard symbol.
Replace toxic cleaning products with natural/organic alternatives (no toxic fumes) or homemade recipes .
Ask your retailers for information.
Buy a product in the format strictly corresponding to the necessary quantity.
Buy recycled paint (e.g. Boomerang). Use rechargeable batteries instead of single-use batteries.
Offer your surplus paint and other products (e.g. antifreeze).
 Example of basic ingredients: vinegar, soda crystals, borax, baking soda, white soaps.