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Household hazardous waste - FAQ

Where should I drop off my hazardous waste?

If you're unsure of how to dispose of an item, check out our online recycling search tool to find out what goes where. The search tool is an easy and fast way to find out what can be recycled and what can't.

Why should I drop off my hazardous waste?

Disposing of hazardous chemicals in your garbage can pose a danger to your garbage collector, your family, your neighbourhood and the environment.

Pouring chemicals down a drain can cause significant environmental problems. Calgary has two separate wastewater systems – the stormwater system and sanitary system.

The stormwater system drains to the river without being treated. Chemicals poured down a stormwater catch basin/storm drain ends up in the river – and remains untreated. This untreated waste causes pollution to the environment and places fish, aquatic life, and the entire watershed including drinking water at risk. Your actions have a huge impact on Calgary's rivers.

Chemicals that end up in the sanitary system can upset the sensitive balance used in the wastewater treatment process. Good bacteria do a huge amount of the treatment work and the "good bugs" don't like chemicals.

In large enough quantities chemicals can kill the bacteria. This means the treatment process takes longer and costs more by requiring more resources to clean the water before it reaches the Bow River and other users downstream.

Who operates the hazardous waste drop-off locations?

This safe disposal program is operated as a partnership between Waste & Recycling Services and the Calgary Fire Department. The provincial government funds the disposal of household hazardous waste for all Albertans. The recycling or disposal of paint is overseen by the Alberta Recycling Management Authority (ARMA).

What does The City do with the hazardous waste?

All household chemicals are recycled or safely treated and disposed of at the Swan Hills Waste Treatment Centre in accordance with strict Alberta Environment regulations.

Items including used motor oil, used glycol (anti-freeze), propane tanks, vehicle batteries, used oil containers, paint and paint containers are sold to private companies for recycling.

Why are household dry cell batteries not accepted?

Regular household batteries are not a hazardous waste. That's why the year-round household hazardous waste drop-off program doesn't cover them.

Many of the hazardous components used to make batteries in past decades have been greatly reduced or eliminated in modern batteries. Modern household batteries can either be recycled or are best disposed of in your regular garbage collection.

As an option, The City encourages Calgarians to use rechargeable batteries. These batteries are reusable and a North American wide program exists that recycles rechargeable batteries through the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC).

In Calgary, hundreds of locations accept rechargeable batteries for recycling free of charge. To find the rechargeable battery collection site nearest you visit Call2Recycle.

For a list of disposal options for different kinds of batteries (automotive, cell phone, commercial, laptop), visit the Battery Section of our online recycling search tool.

Who do I contact if I would like more information?

Business owners and commercial operators
If you have waste chemicals at your business, call The City at 3-1-1 or look in the local Yellow pages under Waste Disposal - Hazardous for alternate disposal options.

Residential and homeowners
Call The City at 3-1-1 or Fire Department, Hazardous Materials at 403-287-4248.