How to Dispose of Lightbulbs and 9 Other Hazardous Items

When in doubt, don’t toss it out — read this first
paint cans Photo: IkeHayden/Shutterstock
old stove
sharp bottles
cooking grease
insulin needles
broken lightbulb
expired medication
mercury thermometer
paint cans
smoke detector
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Your walls got a fresh coat, but now you’ve got a few partially full cans of paint on your hands. How to dispose of them depends on the answer to this question: oil or latex? “Oil-based paints are considered hazardous wastes,” Holtzman says, adding that you’ll have to dispose of oil paint through your local hazardous waste disposal program. However, many local governments allow you to put latex paint out with regular household trash if the paint has been dried out, she says. Never dry out oil paint, though, because that releases hazardous fumes.

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