Household Hazardous Waste Disposal
The Environmental Protection Agency defines Household Hazardous Waste as leftover household chemicals that can catch fire, react, and explode, or that are corrosive or toxic. These products don’t belong in the trash, recycling bin or down the toilet. Nor should they be released into yards, waterways and storm drains, where they can harm our beautiful coastal environment.
James City County offers free disposal of antifreeze, kitchen grease, motor oil, propane tanks (empty), and lead-acid batteries at all three Convenience Centers (Jolly Pond, Tewning Road and Toano). Electronics (excluding flat screen monitors, CPUs and laptops) and tires are accepted at the Jolly Pond Convenience Center with on-site payment by debit/credit card or coupons.
The County sponsors household chemical collections as part of a regional (Williamsburg, James City County, York County, Hampton, and Poquoson) program coordinated by Virginia Peninsula Public Service Authority (VPPSA).
This program enables residents to safely dispose of household chemicals. The James City County events are held at Warhill High School on the second Saturday of February, April, June, August, and October annually, from 8 a.m. to noon. For all event locations and times see the brochure here.
About The Program
Acceptable Materials are those typically found in a home environment, and include the following:
- Household Maintenance: Oil paint, Latex paint, Stains, Solvents, Glue, Varnishes, Adhesives
- Automotive: Gasoline and other fuels (less than 50 gallons), Waxes, Gas/oil mixtures, Brake fluid, Engine cleaner
- Lawn & Garden: Insecticides, Weed killers, Pesticides. Fertilizers, Pest Strips
- Household Cleaning: Oven cleaners, Drain cleaners, Floor waxes and cleaners, Metal polishes or jewelry cleaners, Bleach, Degreasers, Septic tank cleaners, toilet cleaners
- Miscellaneous: Charcoal fluids, Dyes, Kerosene, Swimming pool chemicals, Photo finishing chemicals, Rechargeable Batteries, Fluorescent Light Bulbs (including CFL’s)
- Computer-related items accepted for recycling are limited to the following:
- Desktop and laptop computers
- Monitors (both LCD and CRT types)
- Computer wiring
- Desktop printers including multi-function printers, or “all in ones”
- Fax machines
- Desktop photocopiers and scanners
- Cell phones
Unacceptable Materials include the following:
- Alkaline Batteries
- Business or Medical Waste
- Shock sensitive materials
- Radioactive products
- Large quantities of unknown materials
- Gun Powder
- Household Trash
- Large drums of material
What to do with latex paint
- If the paint is old and dry, you can leave the lid off and dispose of in your regular trash.
- If the paint is still a liquid, you can add kitty litter or other absorbent material such as sawdust or mulch and stir it well until it becomes very thick and will not drip or run. Once you’ve done this, you can leave the lid off and dispose of it in your regular trash. Please note this ONLY APPLIES to latex (water based) paint.
How to properly dispose of prescriptions and medications
DO NOT flush old medications down the toilet or pour down the sink. According to the director of Fisheries and Habitat Conservation, trace amounts of chemical compounds often associated with medications have been increasingly detected in our waters. Treatment plants are not designed to remove medications from wastewater. Therefore, chemicals disposed of in sinks and toilets can reach the environment unintentionally.
James City County Pharmacies that accept medications:
- The Williamsburg Drug Company (240 McLaws Circle #147, and 1310 Jamestown Road) accepts pill/tablet medications (no creams or liquids) in the original container only. Personal information may be blacked out.
- Walgreens (1309 Richmond Rd) has a Safe Medication Disposal kiosk in the pharmacy waiting area. Prescription and over-the-counter medications are accepted. No illegal drugs, needles, lotions or liquids, inhalers, aerosol cans, thermometers or hydrogen peroxide are accepted.
- Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center (100 Sentara Cir) accepts medications in a metal box in the outpatient pharmacy. No liquids or illegal substances are accepted.
- CVS Pharmacy (7529 Richmond Rd.) has a drug take back unit located in the Pharmacy waiting area. Prescription, over-the-counter and liquid medications are accepted. No illegal drugs, needles, medical devices, batteries, inhalers, aerosol cans, chemicals, or mercury-containing devices are accepted.
- The Prescription Shoppe (5223 Monticello Ave C) has a medsafe medication collection kiosk. No liquids are accepted.
The James City County Police Department partners with the DEA to host two drug take-back events in April and October. The program is anonymous with no questions asked. Prescription solid dosage medications (i.e. tablets and capsules) are accepted. Intra-venous solutions, liquid medications, over-the-counter medications, injectables and needles, illicit substances (i.e., marijuana, methamphetamines, etc.) are NOT accepted. E-cigarettes and vaping devices are only accepted if the batteries have been removed.
Purchasing and storage
In addition to knowing how to safely dispose of such toxic products, it’s also important to be a smart consumer when purchasing and to know how and where to store them.
- When buying products, read the labels and select non-hazardous or less-hazardous components that do the same job.
- Buy and use only the amount needed for your project. Leftovers can be shared or donated.
- Keep all products in their original containers, labeled and sealed.
- Store them away from the elements in a secured, preferably locked area.