Dream Lake iced over - RMNP

Household Hazardous Wastes

The Household Hazardous Waste Facility

(970) 498-5771 or (970) 498-5773
24-hour information line: (970) 498-5770

Residential hazardous waste is accepted from Larimer County residents at no charge. All other qualified waste may be accepted through our BHAPE Program (Business Hazardous Waste Assistance Program and Education) for a fee. Call (970) 498-5760 for more information on the "Be Happy" Program. BHAPE

What is household hazardous waste?

Household hazardous waste (HHW) is any substance containing ingredients that could negatively affect your safety, health or the environment. Signal words found on hazardous products include poison, danger, warning and caution. They can be found on a wide range of products, including furniture polish, bleach, antifreeze, insecticides, paint, mothballs and much more.

Also look for indications of hazardous properties on the label. Such properties are defined by the Environmental Hazards Management Institute as follows:

  • Toxic: can cause injury or death if swallowed, absorbed or inhaled
  • Flammable: easily catches fire and tends to burn rapidly
  • Corrosive: a chemical or its vapors that can cause a material or living tissue to be destroyed
  • Explosive: violently bursting when exposed to pressure or heat
  • Irritant: causes soreness or swelling of the skin, eyes, mucous membranes or respiratory system

Why can't I just throw HHW away with the trash?

Dumping unused portions of household hazardous wastes in the trash or down the drain can cause safety and environmental problems. If buried in the landfill, chemicals can react and cause explosions or make their way into the groundwater. While the county strictly monitors the landfill's groundwater and gas emissions, and acts quickly to rectify any problems found, it is much easier to prevent such problems from occurring in the first place by properly disposing of or recycling hazardous wastes.

So please act responsibly! Bring your unwanted HHW to the county's hazardous waste collection facility at the landfill. It's free for all Larimer County residents!

Hours, location and other information

MONDAY, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (Closed to the public Wednesday)
8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Larimer County Landfill
5887 S. Taft Hill Road
Fort Collins, CO 80526

Bring your household chemicals in non-leaking, labeled containers that can be left at the facility. Pack your waste upright in boxes. No garbage bags nor large containers such as trash cans full of waste. This is unsafe for you and the staff if waste leaks and mixes. Do not bring containers larger than 5 gallons in size as they will not be accepted. The HHW staff and manager reserve the right to refuse waste that is unacceptable, unsafe or not a typical residential waste. If you have commercial waste, please see the business waste section.

The County opened the Rocky Mountain region's first permanent household hazardous waste collection facility in 1989. Since that time, more than 17 million pounds of household hazardous wastes have been diverted from the landfill. The Collection Facility is located at the Larimer County Landfill south of Fort Collins on Taft Hill Road, or north of Loveland on Wilson Ave. See map.

Examples of materials accepted

  • Ammunition
  • Antifreeze
  • Cleaners
  • Fireworks
  • Fluorescent and compact fluorescent bulbs
  • Glues
  • Herbicides
  • Oils
  • Other automotive fluids
  • Over-the-counter medicines
  • Paints
  • Pesticides
  • Propane cylinders 30lbs. and smaller
  • Spa chemicals
  • Stains
  • Strippers
  • Tars
  • Toiletries

Please keep in mind these are only a few examples. If you have questions please call (970) 498-5771. All household batteries are accepted but it is required that the ends of the batteries are covered with tape. This minimizes the risk of fire when the batteries are in transit.

Do not bring the following unacceptable materials

Larimer County reserves the right to refuse any material that is deemed unacceptable by the managing site staff.

  • Asbestos material
  • Explosives - shock sensitive materials such as dynamite, picric acid
  • Known PCB wastes
  • Pathological wastes
  • Radioactive materials including smoke detectors

Other types of materials

Used motor oil and batteries

Used oil is accepted at the Larimer County HHW. Motor oil, transmission fluid, and gear oil can be bulked together and used as burner fuel in some industrial applications. To prevent contamination of this commodity, An HHW technician must now screen all motor oil before it goes out for energy recovery. For this reason the oil drop of is no longer self service. Customers who wish to dispose of used oil must bring their oil in 5 gallon containers or smaller. If a container is larger than 5 gallons in size it will be rejected. If you would like your container back after it has been emptied you will be asked to wait or come back the next day to retrieve your container. Thank you for your cooperation in keeping this commodity uncontaminated and usable.

Car batteries are also accepted for recycling at the landfill any time during regular landfill business hours at no charge. They should be taken to the Hazardous Waste Facility.

Household batteries such as nickel cadmium,lithium batteries and button cell batteries should be taped on each end or on the contacts and brought to the collection facility. Alkaline dry cell batteries, or flashlight batteries, should also be taped on both contact ends and brought to the HHW facility for recycling. Any type of tape may be used as long as the tape sticks and staff can read what the battery chemistry is. Each different chemistry such as alkaline, lithium, etc. will be sorted into different waste streams for recycling. For this reason, only batteries of the same chemistry type should be taped together.

Fluorescent bulbs

Fluorescent bulbs, including compact fluorescents, contain mercury and should not be thrown away in the trash. Instead, bring them to our facility during regular open hours and we'll recycle them properly. Businesses with bulbs for recycling must handle them in a different way. Please check here for information regarding business recycling of bulbs. the process Also, read these guidelinesfor what to do if a fluorescent bulb breaks. Check this list for other convenient recycling options for compact flourescent bulbs.

Sharps (hypodermic needles) and medications

The hazardous waste facility accepts used hypodermic needles from county residents who self-medicate. Many people throw used needles–often called "sharps"–into their regular trash. Unfortunately, this disposal method puts landfill and trash hauler employees at risk from needle sticks. Instead, we encourage county residents to bring used sharps to our facility on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays only between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. No fees are charged. Sharps must be brought in an OSHA-approved sharps container, which can be purchased from most local drug stores. Needles brought in any other containers or loose needles will not be accepted.

County residents can drop off over-the-counter medications at any time during regular hours. Residents are encouraged to watch for announcements of periodic "take back" events held typically twice a year by local police departments and the D.E.A. Recent research is finding that some medications disposed of by flushing down toilets or drains may have harmful effects on fish and other aquatic life, so dispose of pharmaceuticals responsibly.

Drop 'N' Swap

Drop 'N' Swap

The Drop 'N' Swap is a favorite among County residents. Through the Drop 'N' Swap, we offer usable, low-toxicity products under our "Buy none, get one free" policy.

Here's how it works: Say you need about half a gallon of latex paint, a little bit of copper cleaner, just enough pesticide to kill a pesky patch of weeds, and camp stove fuel to get through the weekend. Chances are we have all these items and more. Just stop by the Hazardous Waste Facility, pick up what you want, and let us thank you on the way out.

About 30,000 pounds of hazardous household products are reused through the Drop 'N' Swap program each year, keeping them out of the landfill and out of groundwater. The best way to dispose of chemicals is to use them up as they were originally intended to be used, which is just what this program does. And, of course, it's free!

The Drop 'N' Swap is open MONDAY, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Do not leave any items on the ground or outside the building when the facility is closed.

Tour information

Schoolchildren enjoying a tour of the hazardous waste facility

The Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility offers tours to the public. Schools, boy/girl scout troops, businesses, or anyone else who may be interested in finding out more about the operation may call (970) 498-5773 to set up a tour of the facility.

For more information on hazardous wastes call (970) 498-5773 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Sites that deal with hazardous waste

Background Image: Dream Lake frozen over in Rocky Mountain National Park by Bryce Bradford. All rights reserved.