7 Things That Can’t Be Thrown in the Trash

Throwing waste in the garbage is a thoughtless habit. Although, these seven items should never be thrown in the garbage or they could present dangerous risks.

Americans generate tons of garbage a year. We often take the luxury of throwing our waste in the trash for a waste management service to haul away for granted. Every day we throw food, paper, and household items in the trash, but did you know some items aren’t allowed to be disposed of in a regular garbage can? Here are seven things that can’t be thrown in the trash and what to do with them instead.


Most batteries contain toxic chemicals that shouldn’t end up in a landfill, or they can contaminate our land and water. To get rid of your old batteries, look for a local household hazardous waste facility (HHW) near you. Some large department stores such as Target or Best Buy may also offer battery collection boxes. 


Leftover paint is poisonous and flammable, making it highly important to dispose of properly. Once you’ve finished your home improvement project, consider saving and reusing the color for other projects. If you don’t foresee any reason to keep the leftover paint, leave the can open until the paint dries and bring it to an HHW facility.  


From TVs to laptops and cell phones, most electronics use metals that do not break down in our environment. Many large retailers that sell electronic products also offer recycling and collection programs to return old electronics for safe disposal.  

Motor Oil 

Motor oil is another flammable substance that can cause water and soil damage when thrown in the trash. Motor oil can always be brought to an HHW facility or check with your local automotive repair shops. Some may be willing to clean and reuse it. 

Prescription Drugs 

Throwing away prescription drugs is a dangerous disposal method. The standard solution of flushing them in a toilet is just as hazardous, as the pharmaceuticals can end up present in municipal drinking water. Many pharmacies will offer take-back programs for safe disposal.  

Fluorescent Light Bulbs 

Unlike LED lights, fluorescents contain mercury, which should never go in the garbage. Home goods stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s offer recycling stations for old light bulbs.  


Your weekly garbage pickup likely doesn’t include tires since they are not biodegradable. Thankfully, there are many ways to get rid of old tires properly. Like many other unaccepted items, an HHW facility will accept tires. Local tire shops also commonly recycle old tires. 

Household Chemicals and Pesticides 

Chemicals and pesticides should never be thrown in the garbage or down the drain when you no longer need them. Once again, relying on an HHW facility is the best way to dispose of these products. 

We own many items in our houses that will damage our eco-system if we don’t properly dispose of them. These seven things can’t be thrown in the trash, but they all offer safe recycling and disposal alternatives. 

Staff Report

Staff Report

This story was prepared by the staff at EUP News or contributed from an outside source.

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