Common Kinds of Hazardous Materials or Waste

There are characteristics and criteria which make a waste officially designate as hazardous or dangerous waste in Washington:

  • Corrosive (Aqueous substances with a pH less than or equal to 2, or greater than or equal to 12.5. Liquids that corrode steel at a rate greater than 0.25 inches per year are also considered corrosive.) For example: vehicle batteries, plating wastes, sodium hydroxide, pool and fireplace cleaners.
  • Ignitable (Liquids with a flash point less than 140° F, solids that are capable of causing a fire through friction, absorption of moisture, or spontaneous chemical change, or any ignitable compressed gas.) For example: acetone, solvents, waste inks, some dry cleaning chemicals.
  • Persistent (Contains organic compounds, usually with fluorine, chlorine, bromine or iodine, that are persistent in the environment.) For example: metal-cutting oil, and methylene chloride.
  • Reactive (Substances that are very unstable and rapidly, or violently change when mixed with or exposed to water, heat, pressure, or other materials. These substances, especially cyanide or sulfide compounds, may generate toxic gases under mildly acidic or alkaline conditions.) For example: chromic acid, peroxides, perchlorates and cyanide.
  • Toxic (Characteristic toxicity: Wastes which, after testing through the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) by a professional laboratory, are found to contain high concentrations of certain pesticides, organic chemicals or heavy metals. Criteria toxicity: Contains chemical constituents that are toxic to fish and other animals.) For example: photoprocessing fixer wastes, discarded pesticides, oil and transmission fluid, trichloroethylene (TCE), and some paint sludges.

For more information on what makes a material or waste hazardous:
Hazardous Waste: More Common Than You Think (PDF)
How to designate your wastes to determine if they are hazardous

Common hazardous materials and wastes often found in Small Quantity Generator (SQG) businesses:

  • Oil-based paints
  • Paints, inks and coatings with heavy metal pigments
  • Fluorescent light bulbs and ballasts
  • Degreasing solvents
  • Chlorinated solvents
  • Lead-acid vehicle batteries
  • Pesticides
  • Cleaning products
    • Vehicle fluids: spent antifreeze, engine oil, hydraulic oil, brake cleaners
    • Electronic wastes: computer monitors
    • Metal wastes: lead, mercury, copper, zinc

Search for hazardous materials, wastes, and vendors.