How to safely dispose of hazardous waste in the Portland area

Various recycling programs with local drop-off sites may save you a trip to one of Metro’s hazardous waste facilities.

old paint cans stacked on top of each other with paint dripping down the sides

You can take your old cans of liquid latex paint to a PaintCare drop-off site.

Photo by Miller Paint

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As we rush toward the end of 2023, you may find yourself eager to cut ties with the past 12 months — as well as some things lying around your home. While many unwanted household items are easy to donate, recycle, or just throw away, other things require special attention to be properly disposed of. Here’s a quick guide to getting rid of hazardous waste.

What is “hazardous waste”?

The term applies to a slew of items that should not be put in trash cans or flushed down the toilet. These products are often marked with words like “caution,” “toxic,” “flammable,” or “warning.” Some examples of hazardous waste items are:

  • Paints, thinners, and solvents
  • Pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers
  • Used motor oil and antifreeze
  • Household cleaners
  • Batteries

How to safely get rid of it

Before you load up the car and head to one of Metro’s two designated recycling centers, check online to see if there’s an easier option for items like…

Medications
Oregon offers drop-off sites for nearly any dosage form, including pills, liquids, and sprays.

Medical sharps
Syringes, lancets, auto-injectors, needles, and needle connectors can be taken to collection boxes across Multnomah County.

Electronics
Rechargeable batteries can be taken to a free Call2Recycle drop-off site at a retail store near you, or you can mail them. Old electronic appliances like TVs and computers can be dropped off (or picked up) with Oregon Ecycles.

Paint
Drop off leftover paint at one of 185 year-round PaintCare sites across Oregon, including over 40 in the Portland metro area. Donated cans are recycled into new paint at MetroPaint’s facility on Swan Island.

If you have hazardous waste that can’t be recycled using one of the options above, it may need to be taken to a Metro recycling center. Learn how to safely prepare products and where to take them.

Still have questions? Contact a recycling expert at Metro online or by calling (503) 234-3000.