Consumer launches guide to chemical disposal

Our free council-by-council guide tells you how to dispose of unwanted household chemicals.

Consumer NZ has compiled a nationwide guide on how to safely dispose of unwanted household chemicals, from cleaning products to weedkillers.

Toxic, corrosive, flammable and explosive products – known as hazardous substances – carry warnings not to throw them out with the general rubbish, but don’t tell you what to do with them instead.

Consumer NZ’s online guide lets consumers select their council and view details about its collection policies, as well as drop-off fees.

Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said some councils needed to do more.

“Our survey of all 67 councils found two-thirds accepted unwanted hazardous chemicals year-round at the landfill, a waste transfer station or a recycle centre. Another three offered regular collection events. But 18 didn’t give residents any way to dispose of these chemicals,” she said.

Councils could also do a better job of providing online information for residents needing to dispose of hazardous chemicals.

“Unless you know what you’re looking for, this information can be really hard to find on many local government websites. We hope our guide will make it easier for people to dispose of these products safely.”

Consumer NZ asked more than 3000 of its members about the most common chemicals in their homes and if they knew how to dispose of these substances. The guide is based on often-used products that require special disposal.

Hazardous chemicals must carry an on-pack warning or symbol. These substances shouldn’t be put in the general rubbish collection as they can cause serious harm to human health or the environment.

For more information see Consumer's full report on hazardous waste, available for free online.

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