How to Handle Waste
New York State mandates that solid waste be handled in the following manner: reduce, reuse, recycle, landfill and, lastly, waste to energy. The following page summarizes local solid waste contacts, facilities, and programs offered in Western New York.
- Cellular Phones
- Clothing and Textiles
- Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFL)
- Computer/Electronics Recycling
- Household Hazardous Waste
- Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG) Collection
- Pharmaceutical Waste
To find out what your municipality is recycling or for information on items that cannot be put in your recycling container, visit the Recycling Information page.
To find out more about home composting, visit our Home Composting webpage.
If you have any questions or comments on solid waste management, please call the Department of Environment and Planning at (716) 858-6800. See below for ways to handle common household items.
- It’s not a question of whether to recycle your old cell phone, but rather how. You help the environment by properly recycling your phone because cell phones contain a number of hazardous substances that can seriously impact the environment. A good source to review these options is through the Earth 911 website.
There are a number of organizations that collect cell phones to raise money. For example, the Buffalo Zoo works with Eco-Cell who pays up to $10 per digital phone. They, in turn ensure that most of these cell phones and their accessories will be reused or properly recycled. To find out more about this program, go to the Buffalo Zoo Eco-cell webpage.
Take a look at what happens to unwearable textiles when they are recycled.
Click image to enlarge. Source: SMART: Secondary Materials And Recycled Textiles
Did you know Erie County is part of the WNY Coalition for Donated Goods?
For more information contact Gary Carrel at (716) 858-4805 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- According to the US Department of Energy, the CFL uses approximately 75% less energy and last up to 10 times longer than traditional incandescent light bulbs. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website has good information on these bulbs.
- To find out where to recycle your CFL, visit the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority website.
For information on where to recycle computer and electronics equipment in Erie County, please visit our Electronics Recycling Page or call the Department of Environment and Planning at (716) 858-6800.
Check out the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website for more information about eCycling.
Upcoming Collection Events:
Hazardous household materials are common products used around the home almost everyday. A substance is considered hazardous if it ignites easily, reacts or explodes when mixed with other substances, is corrosive or toxic. Check for labels that bear the words "poison", "toxic", "warning", "danger", "combustible", "flammable", "corrosive", or "caution."
Hazardous household materials could pose an unnecessary health and safety risk. Unwanted materials should be disposed in an environmentally sound manner. In order to provide residents with the opportunity to dispose unused hazardous household materials, Erie County provides multiple Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days each Spring. For information about the next event, please call (716) 858-6800 or see below:
Acceptable Materials for drop-off include:
Up to 10 gallons of waste automotive fluids such as: motor oils, gasoline, antifreeze, brake & transmission fluids;
Up to 10 gallons of oil-based paints, paint strippers and thinners, spray paints, kerosene & other solvents;
Rechargeable Batteries: nickel cadmium, nickel metal-hydride, lead-acid (auto/truck/boat/motorcycle/tractor), lithium, lithium-ion, and button (watch/calculator) batteries. For year-round battery disposal information, visit Call2Recycle.org;
Up to 2 gallons or 20 pounds of pesticides, fertilizers and pool chemicals;
Mercury and any Mercury containing devices such as thermometers or thermostats.
Latex paint (water-based). To dispose of latex paint, remove the canister's lid, add kitty litter or saw dust, let it dry and place in the trash. Make sure the lid is off so the sanitation worker can see that it is empty;
Alkaline Batteries. These are safe to dispose of in your trash. More information on batteries is available through the Earth 911 website.
Photo Chemicals - For information on disposal of photo chemicals contact Kodak at 1-800-242-2424;
Medical Waste/ Medications;
Asbestos. View the New York State rules on asbestos regulation.
Explosives, Ammunition and Gun Powder - contact your local police department;
Smoke Detectors (radioactive materials) - for information call First Alert at 1-800-323-9005;
Cooking oils - call Darling International at (716) 895-0655 for disposal of cooking oils;
Syringes/Needles - visit the Erie County Department of Health Needle Disposal & Access page;
Tires - should be disposed of at any retail tire dealer (a nominal disposal fee may apply);
Cylinders of compressed gases, such as (but not limited to): - oxygen, acetylene, helium, carbon dioxide, freons, other refrigerant gases, etc.;
Fluorescent light bulbs or ballasts.
In addition, Commercial, Business or Farm Waste is not accepted. Erie County's hazardous waste disposal program for Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators may be a suitable option to dispose of these materials.
Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG) Collection
Hazardous Waste Disposal for Businesses, Municipalities, Schools and Agencies
Upcoming Collection Event:
The Erie County CESQG Hazardous Waste Program is a service providing a convenient, cost-effective, and environmentally acceptable method of disposal for generators of small amounts of hazardous waste. Any Western New York business, municipality, school, school district, or other agency that meets the requirements of the regulations for a CESQG as defined in 6NYCRR Part 372 may participate.
A CESQG generates less than:
1 Kg/month of acute hazardous waste or
100 Kg/month of a listed and/or characteristic hazardous waste (100 Kg is approximately 220 pounds or 25 gallons of liquid) and
Never stores more than 1000 Kg at any time
How do I get started?
If you would like more information about participating in the CESQG Program, please contact Erie County at 716-858-4805 or email@example.com. We will discuss your waste disposal issues and help find the best solution. We will also provide you with the Certification form which guides you through the process.
How does it work?
When you return the completed Certification form detailing the types and amounts of each hazardous waste, disposal costs will be calculated. If you agree to the disposal costs, you will be assigned an appointment to drop-off your waste (usually Spring or Fall collection). Payment is due at the drop-off. Participants are responsible for transporting their own waste to the collection site. New York State regulations allow CESQG participants to haul up to 100 Kg of hazardous waste. Erie County contracts with a licensed hazardous waste company to take the wastes to a State-approved facility.
Read the product label and SDS to identify any hazardous ingredients. Products labeled: “poison”, “toxic”, “warning”, “danger”, “caution”, “combustible”, “corrosive”, “flammable”, “reactive” require proper disposal.
Does it Save Money?
YES! Cost savings are realized from the economy of scale resulting from multiple generators disposing together at one drop-off site. You also save by transporting your waste and avoiding the cost of contracting with a hazardous waste disposal firm.
Recent news about the detection of prescription drugs in drinking water has caused concern about the impact on human health. Also, storing expired and unwanted medications in your home increases the risk of accidental poisoning. Help protect our water and your safety by disposing of medicines properly through collection and incineration.