Challenge 9 - Tackle Toxic Trash

CEDay_Ward19_Haz_Waste_Paint-cropped-sm.jpgTackle Toxic Trash

Certain types of waste can't go in the garbage or recycling bin because they contain toxic ingredients that can harm the environment or human health. This type of special waste needs to be sorted and sent to the right place so it can be recycled properly.

Special waste includes batteries, CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) and fluorescent tubes, medication, paint, oil, nail polish and cleaning products (anything with a 'hazard' symbol). Read the full list on the City website.


  • Create a space in your home to store this. Choose a safe place away from kids and pets and keep all products in their original containers. Make a sign and let everyone in your household know about it.

  • If you live in an apartment, ask your building manager to create a Special Waste drop off spot. They can call the City to collect it.
  • Upload a photo of your waste collection spot in the comments below.


Where to recycle your hazardous and special waste:

  • Residents can drop off special waste free at any of the 7 City waste Drop-off depots.

  • If you've got a lot of special waste, the Toxic Taxi can come right to your door to collect special waste for free. You need the equivalent of 10 litres of hazardous waste (about 2 and half paint cans).  Call 311 or fill out an online request.

  • If you live in an apartment, talk to your Property Manager about arranging a collection day for the whole building


Take the extra step:
Find ways to reduce the special and hazardous waste in your home. Use rechargeable batteries instead of disposables. Or make non-toxic cleaners that are safer for you and the environment.  See recipes in Section 8 of TEA's Toxics Reduction Tool Kit.

Did you take this challenge?

  • catherine sutherland
    Took Challenge 2014-07-08 16:52:00 -0400
    Hi, I could improve in this area. I have decided to look for castile soap so I can make green laundry detergent myself at home. I sent the message asking manufacturers to be responsible for their own packaging.

  • Emily Alfred
    Took Challenge 2014-07-07 22:46:55 -0400
    I was surprised by how much toxic and special waste we have in our house! I started a box in the basement and labelled it, then started finding lots of stuff to fill it – things like old batteries in different drawers, old nail polish, cleaners, some paint, and even old medicine. I didn’t think we had so much just sitting around!
  • Emily Green
    Took Challenge 2014-07-05 12:37:18 -0400
    Today I dropped off old air freshener, a 9 volt battery and old hair products at a Community Environment Day.

    This week instead of buying “Draino” I bought baking soda and vinegar to unclog my bathroom drains.
  • Gary Schwartz
    Took Challenge via 2014-07-03 16:55:00 -0400
    We don’t have a lot of special or hazardous waste at the TEA office, but we’ve started a collection box for things like batteries, compact fluorescent light bulbs and we’ll also use it to collect our electronic waste in one place until we have enough to make a disposal trip.
  • Ria Bilous
    Took Challenge 2014-07-01 14:08:44 -0400
    I agree with Deborah. I do see some signs up on the subways but maybe the city should consider ads on cp24 or something like that to get the information out to more people. I had never even heard of the toxic taxi until recently.
  • Deborah Livingston-Lowe
    Took Challenge 2014-06-21 09:58:54 -0400
    Not enough people know where to bring items such as bulbs and batteries. This info should be more widely disseminated.
  • David Livingston-Lowe
    Took Challenge 2014-06-20 11:10:14 -0400
    We don’t have a lot of toxic waste at home, but at work we started bins in the common area for electronics, used light bulbs, and batteries. Once every six months or so, the electronics go out for pick up, and we take the rest to one of the several large retailers nearby that has drop offs on site for batteries, light bulbs, and printer cartridges.
  • Maria Rots
    Took Challenge 2014-06-20 09:31:17 -0400
    Thank you for the suggestions
  • Gabriela Haden-Pawlowska
    Took Challenge 2014-06-13 16:09:51 -0400
    I keep my toxic waste until my local community environment day and drop it off there
  • Jeff L.
    Took Challenge 2014-06-03 12:11:52 -0400
    Recycle your batteries while you shop at retail stores across Toronto. You can find one here by entering your postal code in the search box: http://rawmaterials.com/page/locations/?search=toronto&submit=Submit+Query
  • Celia Zhang
    Took Challenge via 2014-06-02 12:26:44 -0400
  • John Cowan
    Took Challenge 2014-05-29 09:11:28 -0400
    Rechargeable batteries don’t last and then if I carry a spare set of re-chargeable, they are likely to be flat when I need them. So I just have a regular habit of collecting dead batteries in a special place (with tape on the 9 volt batteries to prevent fires) for later proper disposal.
  • Barbara Hickling
    Took Challenge 2014-05-24 18:16:18 -0400
    We have a free-standing cupboard in the basement that we’ve installed a padlock hasp on and posted all the applicable warning logos on the outside (poisonous, corrosive, etc.). We taught the kids what the logos all mean. In addition to paint, solvents etc. we also keep a glass jar for accumulating dead batteries until they can be disposed of. Smoke detector 9V batteries need to be replaced long before they are actually dead. We use them in 9v led flashlights until they’re done (the led just snaps on the top of the battery, great for camping).
  • Cirlene Pessoa
    Took Challenge 2014-05-23 18:28:55 -0400
    I love the idea the “toxic taxi”… I didn’t know about it… Thanks
  • Andrew J Holownych
    Took Challenge 2014-05-23 15:44:04 -0400
    i cant wait for my next enviro day. i already have a ton of batteries, some old paint, and other junk from a “house-cleanse” i did last month. i use rechargeable batteries (in high-drain devices like portable speakings; but still use disposable ones for smoke alarms, flashlights).
  • Shawn Vanderheyden
    Took Challenge 2014-05-23 06:35:41 -0400
    just attended our second ‘environment days’ yesterday … mostly for the free leaf compost! :)

    sad to drop off old chemicals / paints leftover in the house we moved into, but glad they’ll be disposed of properly.

    currently exploring any differences between typical rechargeable batteries and the newer usb charged products (i.e. bike lights)
  • Yvonne Ho
    Took Challenge 2014-05-22 15:36:12 -0400
    I keep my old batteries and bring them to the speacial bins for battery recycling in school
  • Patricia McPhail
    Took Challenge 2014-05-15 07:52:35 -0400
    We have dropped off toxic waster to the depot centres and will continue to do so. We use rechargeable batteries (any non rechargeable batters are saved and deposited wight the toxic waste), and use natural cleansers in our home.
  • Katherine-Anne Skinner
    Took Challenge 2014-05-13 13:13:22 -0400
    I’ve been doing the battery drop off for my co-op which collect’s all it’s members batteries. I am also on my city councillor’s mailing list so get his listing of community environment days.
  • Marilyn McKim
    Took Challenge 2014-05-12 21:42:41 -0400
    I take all our old batteries to Environment Days. I don’t use many but my husband does and finds the rechargeables simply don’t last long. Pity. A real pity. I downloaded TEA’s Tool Kit some time ago and have become expunging toxics from our home. I am using up the old stuff figuring that’s better than simply throwing it out un-used.
  • Terrie Tucker
    Took Challenge 2014-05-08 08:54:48 -0400
  • Judy Newman
    Took Challenge 2014-05-08 08:35:51 -0400
    Yes. Our local transfer station in Scarborough is definitely designed for people with cars. The actual drop off locations are far from the road and it would be a real chore to go there with a couple of cans of paint or some other small load without driving.
  • John Ellis
    Took Challenge 2014-05-07 20:25:30 -0400
    We safely store hazardous waste and deliver materials to our councillor’s Enviro Day.
  • Michael Greason
    Took Challenge 2014-05-07 19:50:55 -0400
    CFLs and Batteries can go to IKEA, Home Depot or Lowes. Home Depot also takes paint.
  • Louis Mikolainis
    Took Challenge 2014-05-07 19:08:07 -0400
    been doing all of this for years.
  • Jody Yu
    Took Challenge 2014-05-07 14:48:00 -0400
    I collect and store used cooking oil, which I drop off at the local (its a 20 minute bus drive away) toxic waste depot every four months. We also purchased high quality rechargeable batteries.
  • Silvia Wineland
    Took Challenge 2014-05-07 13:29:53 -0400
    I just dropped off used batteries, compact fluorescent bulbs and empty caulking and paint containers at our local May Community Environment Day. Now we’ll start saving for next year.
  • Chris Flanagan
    Took Challenge 2014-05-06 23:54:57 -0400
    I’ve switched to using rechargable batteries only and set up a toxic trash box at home ready for the next community environment day.
  • Antoinette Battaglia
    Took Challenge 2014-05-05 14:49:41 -0400
    I have a spot where I store old batteries just for this reason. I hadn’t thought of nail polish though. I have a lot of old containers of nail polish that I will definitely set aside.