Frequently Asked Questions

If you don't find the answer to your question on our website, please contact Karen Baker, karenb@nashuarpc.org or 603-424-2240 x11.  

Automotive Products

Where can I dispose of used motor oil?

As long as the motor oil is not mixed with other automotive products (such as gasoline or antifreeze) many local service stations will accept it for free or for a small fee. In addition, many local transfer stations collect used motor oil from their residents during normal business hours.

Containers

Can I get my containers back after the contents have been disposed of?

Yes, just let the staff know which containers you would like to keep.

 

Should I bring empty bottles/cans/containers that once held HHW to the collection?

If the container is truly empty, you can dispose of it with regular household trash and you do not need to bring it to a HHW collection.

Fees

Why is there a fee to participate in the HHW collection? 

The NRSWMD receives a majority of its funding through municipal tax assessments and grants.  However, the safe disposal of HHW is expensive, and these sources do not cover all of the program costs.

 

Is there a reduced fee for bringing only a few items? What about a senior discount? 

Unfortunately, we do not have the ability to reduce fees below the standard $10 price. We do recommend that you "wastepool" with friends or neighbors to maximize your user fee and reduce vehicle trips to the event.

 

What forms of payment do you accept for HHW user fees and electronics?

Both types of fees can be paid for by cash or check. Checks for the $10 HHW fee should be made payable to "NRSWMD" (Nashua Region Solid Waste Management District). Checks for recycling electronics items should be made payable to "RMG."

HHW Basics

How can I identify hazardous materials in my home?

When you see the words "caution," "poison," "warning," or "danger" on a product label, you are dealing with a potentially hazardous material that cannot be disposed of as regular waste.

These products often have one or more of the following properties:
Flammable: easily ignited or set on fire
Corrosive/Caustic: can cause burns or destroy living tissue through contact
Explosive: may explode if exposed to heat or pressure
Toxic: may cause injury or death if inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through skin

 

Why can't I dispose of household hazardous waste in the same manner as my regular trash?

Household hazardous waste needs to be treated differently than regular waste items because it contain chemicals or has properties that are hazardous to human health or the environment if not managed properly. Improperly disposed of materials (such as dumping down the toilet, drain, or storm sewer) can damage sewer treatment plants or private septic systems. Materials may flow directly into streams and ponds, which are common sources of drinking water. Materials that are incorporated into the solid waste stream with regular trash can commingle, ignite, and explode.

 

How can I reduce the amount of household hazardous waste in my home?

First, become familiar with labels and their code words. Products that include "flammable, corrosive, explosive, or toxic" in their labels are likely hazardous, as are most aerosol products. Products that would not be considered hazardous often have the word "nontoxic" on the label. Purchase nontoxic substitutes when possible and stay away from hazardous items. Click herealternatives.html for earth friendly alternatives.

When no substitute product is available, purchase only the quantity of product that you need to complete the job at hand. If you end up with leftover product despite your best intentions, donate it to a friend, relative, or community group that might need the item for their own purpose.

HHW Collection Events

Who operates the household hazardous waste collection?

The Nashua Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) organizes and staffs the household hazardous waste collection program on behalf of the Nashua Regional Solid Waste Management District (NRSWMD). The NRSWMD was formed in 1988 specifically to address the problem of how to safely and legally dispose of household hazardous waste. The NRSWMD is comprised of the towns of Amherst, Brookline, Hollis, Hudson, Litchfield, Merrimack, Milford, Mont Vernon, Nashua, Pelham, and Windham.

 

Why doesn’t my town accept household hazardous waste at the landfill / transfer station?

Household hazardous waste (HHW) is different than regular trash and requires specific handling and disposal techniques to ensure that it is safely managed. When improperly handled, HHW can cause explosions, fires, or toxic releases that threaten air, water, and soil quality. State and federal laws prohibit the disposal of hazardous waste in municipal landfills and regulate the transport of hazardous wastes when they occur in large quantities or are industrially produced.

As a result, it can be very expensive to safely dispose of HHW, so few municipalities have the facilities, training, or funding to host their own collections or to process materials on site. By working together through the District, municipalities are better able to afford to offer collection events.

 

How should I package my items for the collection?

Materials should be kept in their original containers with original labels, if possible. Make sure that caps and lids are secure, and place any items at risk of tipping or spilling in an upright cardboard box lined with a garbage bag. Since many chemicals have noxious odors, we recommend that materials be kept in the trunk or rear of the vehicle. Do not store materials in a very hot or very cold vehicle or in direct sunlight. Smoking is not permitted once inside the facility gates.

 

Why do I have to fill out a survey to participate in the HHW collection?

The data allows us to apply for grant monies to help fund the collections and is required by the State. The survey also helps us objectively evaluate our collection program and identify any areas that need improvement. The survey is easy to complete and does not ask for personal or incriminating information.

 

Are there other locations in the State of NH where household hazardous waste collections take place?

The NH Department of Environmental Services compiles information on all of the household hazardous waste collections taking place throughout the state. If you are moving soon and can't make any of these collections, we recommend asking friends or neighbors to store your HHW materials and bring them to a regularly scheduled event for you.

Mercury Thermometers

What should I do with a broken mercury thermometer?

You can bring broken mercury thermometers to the hazardous waste collection events. Be careful when cleaning up and transporting the mercury because mercury vapors are toxic. Make sure to double-wrap the mercury-containing elements in plastic so that vapors cannot leak out. Label the container with a description of the materials contained, making sure to note the presence of liquid mercury.

Instructions for cleaning up small mercury spills

Paint

How do I determine if my paint is latex?

Latex paints are water-based and are very common for indoor and even outdoor applications. Latex paints can be cleaned with just soap and water. Check the label for the words “latex” or “acrylic” to ensure that it is latex. If the cleaning instructions call for either mineral spirits or paint thinner, it is not latex paint. For more information, click here paint_flier_2013.pdf.

 

Why can’t I bring latex paint to the HHW collection or throw it out with my household trash?

Latex paint is hazardous in its liquid form, but not when it is dried and solid. In order for us to keep costs down we require participants to handle latex paint in the most cost-effective way possible, which is to dry it out and dispose of it as non-hazardous material.

 

What is the easiest way to dispose of my latex paint?

The easiest way to rid your home of unwanted paint (or other household hazardous waste) is to donate it to a friend, neighbor, or community group who can use it. But if donating it or using it up yourself is not an option, it is easy to safely dispose of latex paint when it is dried.

For cans that are less than ¼ full, simply pop the lid and let air dry in a well-ventilated location. If you have cans that are almost full, line a cardboard box with a plastic trash bag, and pour up to an inch of paint in the bottom of the bag. Let air dry, or add paper shreds, kitty litter, sawdust, or Speedy Dry to the paint to speed up the drying process. When the paint is crisp dry, you can repeat the process by adding layers of paint and absorbent material. Then bring the dried paint and dry cans to your landfill or transfer station for disposal.

 

How can I safely dispose of lead paint chips?

Lead paint, in either dried or liquid forms, cannot be disposed of with your regular trash. You can bring lead paint chips to a HHW collection. When remodeling, remember to minimize the risk of lead poisoning, especially if the paint is chipping or pealing. Never dry-sand, dry-scrape, or burn lead paints and consider hiring a certified professional contractor to remove and safely dispose of lead-based paint.

Sharps

Can I bring sharps or syringes to the HHW collection events?

While sharps are not accepted at the HHW collection events, you can safely dispose of needles at several locations in Nashua. Sharps may be brought to St. Joseph's Hospital in Nashua (172 Kinsley St) at any time. Home syringe users must place their sharps in a sealed sharps container, liquid laundry detergent bottle, or fabric softener bottle. Containers must be taped shut and marked "used sharps." For more information, please call 882-3000. Sharps can also be brought to Southern NH Medical Center in Nashua during select hours. For more information, call 577-2547. The NH DOT Rest Area off exit 6 in Nashua also supplies a sharps container. For more information, call 485-3806.

Styrofoam

Do you accept styrofoam peanuts or packing materials?

Styrofoam is not accepted at HHW collections since it is not acutely corrosive, toxic, flammable, or reactive in its normal form. However, that doesn’t mean Styrofoam is good for our environment. It can pose significant risks to fish and wildlife and it takes a very long time to biodegrade.

Styrofoam is difficult for municipalities to handle as a recyclable material because it is bulky and hard to store. No municipal facilities in the NRPC region are currently able to recycle Styrofoam materials.

Many packaging companies (UPS, Mailboxes etc.) gladly take packing peanuts and Styrofoam materials for reuse. Give your local packaging store a call to see what their policy is. If you have some storage space, keep these materials for reuse yourself. You can also contact the parent company when you receive a new item that is packaged in molded Styrofoam bricks (like a DVD player, or coffee maker) to see if the materials can be mailed back for reuse. Finally, avoid Styrofoam altogether and instead opt for more environmentally friendly cornstarch peanuts (they simply dissolve away in water) or paper shreds.