Use the What to Recycle and Where tool to find out how to properly recycle or dispose of hundreds of different items. See below for additional information about household hazardous waste, medications and medical sharps.
Household Hazardous Waste
Many of the products used in our homes and yards can be hazardous to people, wildlife and the environment if they are not disposed of correctly. Below are resources to help identify and properly dispose of household hazardous waste.
- Neighborhood collection events: Metro coordinates free household hazardous waste collection events throughout the region.
- Hazardous waste facilities: Metro runs two facilities that can accept hazardous wastes, Metro Central in NW Portland and Metro South near Oregon City.
- Common hazardous products: Learn how to identify household products are considered hazardous and how to handle them.
- Hazardless Home Handbook: Guide to hazardous products and effective alternatives, from Metro
Do not put drugs or medications down the drain or in garbage or recycling containers. Use one of the following options to properly dispose of expired or unwanted medications:
- Take medications to a safe, secure kiosk at a participating pharmacy or law enforcement agency. Use the What to Recycle and Where tool to find a participating location near you.
- Request a pre-paid, pre-addressed envelope from one of the Mail-Back programs on Oregon Drug Take-Back Program website or by calling 844-482-5322.
- Take medications to a Hazardous Waste Facility or Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event.
Take medications to a participating law enforcement agency during National Prescription Drug Take Back Days in April and October.
Learn more about the Oregon Drug Take-Back Program.
Medical syringes, lancets and needles (often called 'sharps')
Do not put sharps in the garbage or recycling bins. Storing and disposing of sharps properly limits risk to workers collecting and sorting garbage or recycling.
Sharps must be contained in an approved sharps container. These containers are rigid, leakproof, puncture-resistant, sealed and clearly marked with the biohazard symbol. They can be purchased from a pharmacy, exchange program or collection site. Containers like plastic milk jugs or coffee cans are not safe or acceptable for sharps storage or transport.
Select an approved method to dispose of sharps from the choices below:
- Join a container exchange program — Some pharmacies may provide container exchange programs that provide both the containers and drop-off sites. Metro's sharps disposal and container exchange program allows area residents to bring used sharps stored in approved sharps containers to Metro's hazardous waste facilities. After the initial purchase of a container, participants can dispose of used sharps in exchange for an empty container at no charge.
- Metro Hazardous Waste Facility and Household Hazardous Waste neighborhood collection events — Residents can bring used sharps and other household hazardous waste to a Metro hazardous waste facility or a neighborhood collection event.
- Mail-in programs — Some haulers and other vendors may offer sharps-by-mail service — a safe, confidential, "from home" mailing solution for sharps disposal. Check with your pharmacy or collection company for mail-in options.
- Other collection service — In Washington County, sharps and other medical waste may be collected through your collection company or by a sub-contractor.
Residential care facilities, group homes and other commercial generators of sharps should contact their regular solid waste collection company or call the Metro Recycling Information at 503-234-3000 for more information.