Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) & You

Spray Pesticides on Plants

What Are HHW Products?

You may not know that you have household hazardous waste (HHW) products in your home, but you have and use them everyday for cleaning, polishing, painting, cooking and dealing with household pests. A few examples of common HHW products include cooking oil/grease, oven cleaner, drain cleaners, solvents, oil-based paints/paint thinner, nail polish/remover, pesticides, pool chemicals, and furniture polish.

Too often, we end up storing these in cabinets, pantries, closets, garages or sheds because we don’t use them up quickly enough. When they take up too much space in storage or pass their expiration date, the temptation is to toss them in the garbage even though they still have some product left in them, or to dump the leftover product out onto our lawn/alley or in the street and throw away the empty container.  Both options are bad for our rivers and creeks.

How HHW Products Can Pollute Our Waterways

  • Half-filled products which are tossed in the regular garbage instead of being properly disposed of end up in the landfill. As the containers are compacted, the product can leak or seep out and drain down to the ground where it can be carried out by storm water runoff into our rivers and creeks whenever it rains or floods.
  • Products illegally dumped into a storm drain empty directly into our rivers and creeks, the chemicals of which can cause serious damage to the water and environment.

Proper HHW Product Use & Storage Begins At Home

When purchasing, using and storing HHW products at home, use the following quick tips to help you manage your products safely and mindfully:

  1. Purchase products only in the quantity you need. If you have any left over product that you don’t want to store, dispose of them at a City of San Antonio HHW Drop-Off Center or consider donating them to a friend, neighbor or group for their use.
  2. Read all labels on products carefully. You can usually tell that a product will require specific HHW disposal if it has the following product warnings on it: toxic, flammable, or corrosive.
  3. Store your products safely before and after use. Follow directions for storage and make sure that their containers don’t have any tears, holes or broken seals where the products can leak out onto the ground. Keep all products stored in separate containers and avoid mixing products together.

Properly Dispose Of Your HHW Products

The City of San Antonio Solid Waste Management Department (SWMD) offers an HHW Drop-Off Center which is free to residents who are Solid Waste customers. For more information on the City’s HHW Drop-Off Center (including a complete list of accepted HHW products and center information), visit the SWMD’s HHW website:

SWMD - Household Hazardous Waste Disposal


Free Online Resources For You

HHW And You (PDF) 

For more information on household hazardous waste products, disposal and a list of do-it-yourself clean alternatives to common household products, visit the following websites presented by San Antonio Water System:

SAWS – Household Hazardous Waste Disposal
SAWS – Clean Alternatives to HHW Products

About Remember the River

Remember the River is a community campaign focused on nonpoint source pollution prevention outreach and education. The campaign is led by the City of San Antonio.

All campaign education and outreach efforts are conducted in compliance with educational/outreach guidelines established under a TPDES Phase I Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) discharge permit regulated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Contact Us

Darlene Dorsey 210.207.1011

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P.O. Box 839966
San Antonio, TX 78283-3966