Health & Fitness

Clean out hazardous products safely

Do you have a box of hazardous materials left over from summer projects sitting in your garage?

One of the great services provided by Thurston County is a facility where residents and qualifying businesses can take unwanted household hazardous products. HazoHouse – at the Thurston County Waste and Recovery Center – collects old fuel, pesticides, fluorescent light bulbs, oil-based paint, household cleaners and many other hazardous products.

The goal is to provide safe recycling and disposal for wastes that could cause accidental poisonings or contaminate the environment if spilled or improperly disposed.

It’s important to take unwanted hazardous products to HazoHouse, but sometimes residents can unwittingly create a hazardous situation during the trip to HazoHouse.

Most of us know that chlorine bleach cannot be mixed with ammonia, but some might not know that it reacts with many other chemicals such as oxidizing pool chemicals, muriatic acid, flammable and combustible liquids, antifreeze, motor oil and pesticides.

There are many other chemicals that don’t play well with others and can cause dangerous fumes, explosions , or fires.

Follow these guidelines to make sure the trip to HazoHouse is safe for you, passengers and the staff at HazoHouse.

 • Make sure containers cannot tip or spill.

 • Transport hazardous items in the trunk or truck bed, rather than in passenger areas.

 • Do not mix materials – keep them separate.

 • Leave hazardous materials in original containers when possible.

 • Do not bring leaking containers. Transfer materials into suitable containers before taking to HazoHouse.

 • Keep sharp objects such as tools, X-Acto blades, needles or broken glass separate from the containers so they do not cause punctures.

 • Take the time to pack materials in sturdy, leak-proof containers or boxes lined with plastic bags, newspaper or other absorbent materials.

 • Avoid using trash cans and garbage bags as containers. These jumble materials together creating a hazardous situation for yourself, car passengers and HazoHouse staff.

Did you know that latex paint is not considered hazardous? Paint can be dried out in the container, using kitty litter, mulch, sand or sawdust. Once it is a tacky, oatmeal-like consistency and will not spill out, the container can be placed in the trash with the lid off.

Containers of other products with less than 1 perfect of the product in them are considered empty and will not be accepted at HazoHouse.

Alkaline batteries can also go in the trash, but bring all other types of batteries to HazoHouse.

The HazoHouse staff is ready to welcome you Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday (including Labor Day) from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at their site behind the recycling center at the Thurston County Waste and Recovery Center, 2418 Hogum Bay Road N.E. in Lacey.

While you are at HazoHouse, stop by the SwapShop to pick up usable items such as automotive products, household cleaners and paints.

Incoming products are checked to ensure they are in good condition and then made available free of charge to the public.

HazoHouse services are free for residents of Thurston County. Business owners pay a small fee and can call 360-754-3354 to register. For more information, call 360-357-2491 or go to

Dr. Diana Yu is the health officer for the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Department, 412 Lilly Road N.E., Olympia, 98506. For information from the Health Department, call 360-786-5581.