Waste Management and Recycling

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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.


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.

Cellular Phones

  • 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. 

  • View a listing of local places to recycle your cell phone

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Clothing and Textiles

Take a look at what happens to unwearable textiles when they are recycled.

Lifecycle of Rags from www.smartasn.org
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 gary.carrel@erie.gov

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Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFL)

Computer/Electronics Recycling

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Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)

Erie County Recycling Logo


For information on this year’s hazardous waste collections and to find out how to dispose of various waste materials visit www.erie.gov/recycling 

If you to want to be notified when the next event is scheduled, please join our Mailing List <click here>

200 Hazardous household materials are common products used around the home almost every day. 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 of in an environmentally sound manner.

Acceptable Materials for drop-off include:

  • Up to 10 gallons of oil-based paints, paint strippers and thinners, spray paints, kerosene, pavement sealers, & 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.


Unacceptable Materials:

  • NO Latex paint (water-based). To dispose of latex paint, remove the canister's lid, add kitty litter or sawdust, let it dry and place in the trash. Make sure the lid is off so the sanitation worker can see that it is empty.
  • NO Alkaline Batteries. These are safe to dispose of in your trash. More information on batteries is available through the Earth 911 website.
  • NO Electronic Waste/ Televisions
  • NO Medical Waste/ Medications
  • NO Explosives, Ammunition and Gun Powder - contact your local police department.
  • NO Smoke Detectors (radioactive materials) - contact the manuafacturer of the detector.
  • NO Cooking oils - call Darling International at (716) 895-0655 for disposal of cooking oils
  • Tires - should be disposed of at any retail tire dealer (a nominal disposal fee may apply).
  • NO Cylinders of compressed gases, such as (but not limited to): - oxygen, acetylene, helium, carbon dioxide, freons, other refrigerant gases, etc.
  • NO Propane tanks (20lb.)
  • NO Fluorescent light bulbs or ballasts.
  • NO Motor Oils will nb longer be accepted at HHW events. You may dispose of automotive oils at service stations. For more information, visit the DEC website

NO 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.

Visit our Facebook page for pictures and totals of prior collection events.

For other information or if you have a question please call (716) 858-6800

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Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG) Collection

Hazardous Waste Disposal for Businesses, Municipalities, Schools and Agencies

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 gary.carrel@erie.gov.  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.

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Pharmaceutical Waste (Medications)


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.Please visit the Erie County Department of Health website for information about proper disposal.


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Last updated: February 15, 2019 1:54pm