Special Waste Disposal Guide
Find more detailed information on specific materials in the links below.
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Ammunition
Small amounts of unwanted ammunition, flares, and fireworks are accepted at the SWA’s Home Chemical and Recycling Center in West Palm Beach. Contact Hazardous Waste Services first. Local sheriffs departments, police departments, or gun shops may also accept ammunition at their discretion. Call them directly for more information.

Other explosives, ordnance or munitions such as weapons are not accepted by the HCRC and must be handled by a local bomb squad or law enforcement agency. Contact your local agency directly or the SWA’s Hazardous Waste Office for assistance. Do not transport unless instructed.

Also see Flares, Explosives.
Appliances
Also called "white goods." White goods are banned from landfill in Florida.

The SWA accepts white goods at the landfill where they are separated and handled by a scrap metal processor for recycling.

Also see Yellow Pages for "scrap metal dealers." They will pay by weight.
Asbestos
The removal of asbestos containing materials (ACM) from commercial and residential structures is regulated by State and federal laws. These laws are enforced locally by the Palm Beach County Health Department. Most demolition and renovation activities require an asbestos survey and notification to be made; and the removal or abatement of regulated asbestos containing materials (RACM) must also generally be performed by licensed asbestos removal persons although there are some exceptions for residential structures.

Contact the PBCHD for assistance with regulations and guidance for safe removal, at 561-355-3070.

The disposal of ACM is likewise regulated and disposal facilities that choose to accept ACM must also comply with State and Federal laws and may have their own policies, procedures, and imitations. The SWA does accept asbestos, generated from within Palm Beach County only, for disposal in a separate area within the landfill. Contact HWS or find information on asbestos disposal in our Special Waste Program.

Other neighboring county and private landfills may also accept asbestos.
Ash
Ash from medical incinerators, power plants, or commercial waste disposal is accepted for disposal in the Class I landfill through the SWA’s Special Waste Program. Ash must be packaged, transported, and disposed of separately from regular solid waste. Loads must be scheduled for delivery by contacting Hazardous Waste Services at 561-687-1100.
Batteries
The many different kinds of batteries and chemistries can be divided into Rechargeable and Non-rechargeable types. Many batteries contain some amount of hazardous materials and must be properly disposed or recycled. Nickel-cadmium, lead-acid, and mercury batteries are banned from landfill in Florida by state law.

Non-Rechargeable Batteries
Although most kinds of batteries can be recycled, non-rechargeable batteries, such as alkaline and zinc carbon, have little value and are generally safe to put in the trash. If you prefer to have your non-rechargeable batteries recycled contact a hazardous waste disposal company for options.

Rechargeable Batteries
Nickel cadmium (Ni-Cd), nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH), lithium ion (Li-ion), and small sealed lead* (Pb) batteries can be recycled for a minimal cost through the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC). The RBRC is a battery manufacturers association created to promote and facilitate the recycling of rechargeable batteries from both household and commercial sources. Businesses can ship batteries direct to RBRC for recycling. Call 800-BATTERY for more locations and information or visit their website.

Automotive Batteries
Retailers are required to take your old automotive (lead-acid) battery when you purchase a new one at their establishment. Many automotive parts stores and service stations will also accept a few batteries at no cost. For larger quantities there are several battery recycling companies in the area which pay by the pound for junk batteries. Refer to Yellow Pages under "batteries."
Biomedical Waste
Medical wastes are often called several different terms including biomedical, biohazardous, or red bag wastes. Medical wastes that come in contact with any fluids or tissue that could potentially make them infectious are regulated as biomedical waste. Medical wastes that do not can generally go in the trash.

Biomedical wastes are commonly generated by doctor's offices, hospitals, care facilities, clinics, dental offices, veterinary clinics and similar activities. Biomedical waste must be stored in appropriate collection containers. Some larger facilities have the ability to treat or incinerate their waste on-site, however most generators have a private company provide transportation and disposal service on a monthly basis. Transporters, treatment facilities, and disposal facilities must be registered or permitted by the state.

Regulation
Both the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) have responsibilities for regulating biomedical wastes. The FDOH has primary authority and responsibility for facilities that generate, transport, store, or treat biomedical waste through processes other than incineration. The FDEP has primary responsibility for biomedical waste incineration and final disposal. The PBCHD also has a used sharps (needles) collection program for persons that self medicate at home.

For more information and a list of registered transporters or permitted facilities contact the PBCHD at 561-837-5900, or the FDOH.

Waste Disposal
The SWA does not accept biomedical waste. Any medical waste that would normally go into a red bag or red box as biomedical cannot be placed in the trash or disposed at the SWA.

Treated biohazardous waste such as from an autoclave or other sterilization process is considered a Special Waste and may be eligible for landfill. Contact Hazardous Waste Services at 561-687-1100.
Boats
Boats and vessels are accepted only at the landfill, not at transfer stations, at the trash rate.and all boats must be inspected prior to disposal.

All fuels, flares, batteries, fire extinguishers, oil or other hazardous materials must be removed by the owner or hauler; We recommend removing under-floor fuel tanks when possible to speed the inspection process. HWS will accept the removed hazardous materials at no charge. Fiberglass is not a hazardous waste.

Customers are not allowed to siphon from boats on SWA property.

Also see the SWA Boat Disposal webpage.
Business Waste
Condo associations, apartment complexes, schools, churches, governments, or any non-household entity is considered a business by the SWA and may be subject to regulations concerning the disposal of hazardous wastes.

Businesses with small amounts of waste and that meet certain conditions are referred to as "conditionally exempt small quantity generators" or CESQG's, and may be eligible for our small business disposal program. Disposal fees are based on the type and quantity of materials. Registration is required prior to delivery and appointments are usually necessary. Contact HWS at 561-687-1100, or see the CESQG Disposal Program page. HWS can also assist with business disposal needs.

Other hazardous waste cleanup, disposal, and related services may be found in the Yellow Pages. Look under the headings:
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Oil Waste
  • Environmental Consultants
  • Laboratories
  • Garbage Collection
  • Rubbish
  • Removal
  • Tank Cleaning
  • Water Treatment
For questions regarding hazardous waste regulations should contact the Florida Department of Environmental Regulations (FDEP) at 561-681-6600 or the FDEP website on hazardous waste.

Also see Waste Exchange.
Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs)
CRTs are the glass picture tubes from computer monitors and TVs. CRTs can contain a significant amount of lead used as a shielding material. The state has considered banning CRTs from landfill however at this time there are no specific disposal regulations.

According to the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation's (FDEP) interpretation of federal rules, commercial CRTs and electronics can be recycled with no regulatory consequences however, if disposed, they would be subject to a hazardous waste determination the same as any other solid waste.

In other words the owner must prove that they are hazardous or non-hazardous and then dispose appropriately. Because of this most people opt to recycle given that there are numerous electronics recyclers available.

For a list of electronics recyclers and more information visit the FDEP website or contact HWS.

Also see Electronics.
Concrete, Asphalt & Aggregate
Concrete, asphalt and aggregate materials are recyclable materials. Concrete is accepted at private C/D sites (contact for prices) and the SWA landfill at the C/D rate. DS Eakins, with 3 sites in PBC, specializes in these materials and is generally cheaper than a C/D site and the SWA.

Clean concrete can be buried on an owners property (it must be their own concrete) but is not recommended.

See a list of SWA Permitted Facilities.

Also see Construction / Demolition Debris.
Construction / Demolition Debris (C&D)
Construction and demolition debris includes inert materials such as steel, glass, concrete, drywall, and wood, as well as rocks, soils, and trees from land clearing.

C/D waste is accepted at the SWA landfill and at several private facilities in the county. C/D is not accepted at transfer stations.

Private facilities are often more conveniently located and are generally cheaper than the SWA.

See a list of Permitted Facilities.

Also see Concrete.
Document Destruction
There are a number of private companies that provide document shredding and secure disposal. Find vendors in local Yellow Pages.

Also see Secure Disposal.
Drugs, Contraband
Illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and drug paraphernalia from law enforcement agencies are destroyed by direct feed into incinerator. All requests must be coordinated through City of WPB Police Department only. WPBPD will schedule with the SWA as needed, typically once per quarter. Destruction is generally videotaped by participants. Contact PD Evidence department at 561-837-4000 or 561-653-3531. 
Drums / Barrels
Empty drums are accepted for disposal at the landfill at the trash rate. Holes must be punched in the top, side, and bottom of drum so that it is clearly visible the drum is empty.

Agricultural products should be cleaned following triple rinse procedures. If you buy materials in drums check with your supplier about return options.
Electronics
Electronic goods such as computers, monitors, printers, TVs, cell phones, etc. have become a large waste stream in today's world. While they do contain small amounts of hazardous materials, which can be a concern when disposed, the bigger issue is that they contain a lot of reusable and recyclable materials.

According to the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation's (FDEP) interpretation of federal rules, commercial CRTs and electronics can be recycled with no regulatory consequences, however, if disposed they would be subject to a hazardous waste determination the same as any other solid waste.

In other words, the owner must prove that they are hazardous or non-hazardous and then dispose appropriately. Because of this most people opt to recycle given that there are numerous electronics recyclers available.

For a list of electronics recyclers in the State of Florida and more information visit the FDEP website, or contact HWS at 561-687-1100.

Also see CRT.
Empty Containers
Any empty container (5 gallon size or less) may be placed in the regular trash. Lids should be removed. This includes paint, pesticides, oil, etc.
Explosives
Explosives, ordnance or munitions such as weapons are not accepted by the HWCF and must be handled by a local Bomb Squad or law enforcement agency. Contact your local agency directly or the SWA's Hazwaste office for assistance. Do not transport unless instructed.

Also see Ammunition, Flares.
Flares
Also called "visual distress signals." Emergency flares usually need to be replaced when they reach their expiration date, typically every 3 years.

Most types of household or recreational boater handheld or projectile flare will be accepted at the main HHW facility.

Also see Ammunition, Explosives.
Fluorescent Lamps & Mercury Containing Devices
All fluorescent lamps, including compact and "green" lamps, contain mercury. Mercury is a known toxin and much effort has been made to keep mercury from being released into the environment.

In addition to fluorescent lamps many other types of lighting such as HID and some neon lights also contain mercury. Together these are referred to as mercury containing lamps or "MCLs"

MCL's are banned in Florida from being incinerated to reduce the release of mercury into the environment and to encourage recycling and reclamation of mercury as a product.

Businesses should make arrangements with a private licensed hauler or recycler. Refer to Yellow Pages or call hazardous waste services for a list of fluorescent lamp recyclers.

SWA does not accept commercially generated MCLs.

Mercury is also found in many other products. For more info go to FDEP's website for mercury.
Gas Cylinders
The most common gas cylinders are propane, refrigerant, acetylene, oxygen, and helium.

Compressed gas cylinders may not be discarded into mixed loads of refuse. Compressed gasses may cause explosions, are banned from disposal in landfills, and are not processable at the waste-to-energy plant.

The Solid Waste Authority will not accept sealed cylinders from commercial sources. If the valves are removed, empty cylinders are acceptable at the landfill for processing at Ferrous Processing Facility. Because they require special handling, cylinder deliveries are scheduled by Hazardous Waste Services. Any questions concerning this policy should be directed to Hazardous Waste Services at 561-687-1100.
Grease, Cooking
Restaurants and roadside food vendors, except those run by non-profit organizations or other groups for special events, are licensed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Proper disposal requirements for cooking grease are usually part of the permit or license to operate. Mobile operations are required to have access to a commissary service for waste disposal.

Grease and oils are usually restricted from being discharged into the sanitary sewer system. Check with your local sewer operator for restrictions or permit requirements. Grease and oils are generally not compatible with septic tank systems. Septic systems are regulated by DOH. Small amounts can be mixed with used oil.

Contact a commercial hauler (Yellow Pages - Grease Traps or Septic Tanks) for service or the DOH for guidance. Cooking grease is usually recycled into other products such as soap and more recently bio-diesel fuel.
Guns & Firearms
Destruction of guns and firearms is coordinated through the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office (PBSO) only. PBSO will schedule with the SWA as needed. Participants are allowed to videotape destruction. Other metal items such as gambling machines, etc. may be eligible also. Contact PBSO at 561-688-3593. 
Liquid Waste
Liquids in bulk amounts are prohibited from landfill by State and Federal law. Bulk amounts include tanker trucks, vac trucks or any amount in containers greater than a household size or quantity.

Sewer cleanouts, tank cleanouts, drill muds, etc

Connections and discharges into sanitary sewer systems are regulated by the local water or wastewater utility and overseen by the PBC Health Department. Permits may be required. The County has several regional wastewater treatment plants and many cities and communities have their own. Contact your local utility for policies and discharge limitations. Contact PBCHD or local government if you are unsure which system you are tied into.

Never discharge anything other than uncontaminated water into a storm drain. Again, permits may be required, contact your local water / wastewater utility.

Loads of expired or unusable beverages or consumer products may be accepted for landfill through the SWA's Special Waste Program. Contact HWS for more information.

Also see Septage.
Manure
Because of the large equestrian presence in the Village of Wellington, manure is a significant source of phosphorous in the area and a concern for the South Florida Water Management District. The Village has an ordinance that restricts land application of manure in certain areas and requires anyone transporting manure in Wellington to be a registered hauler. For a list of permitted animal waste haulers contact the Village of Wellington at 561-753-2430.

The only permitted manure disposal site in the County is BG Katz Nurseries in Boca Raton. See the list of Permitted Facilities.

There are no specific County restrictions. Manure and horse bedding are also accepted at the landfill at the trash rate.
Medicines
See Pharmaceuticals.
Mercury Containing Devices
Many everyday products such as thermometers, thermostats, blood pressure manometers and boat bilge pump switches contain mercury.

Together these are referred to as mercury containing devices or "MCDs"

Mercury is a known toxin and much effort has been made to keep mercury from being released into the environment.

MCDs are banned in Florida from being disposed or incinerated to reduce the release of mercury into the environment and to encourage recycling and reclamation of mercury as a product.

Businesses should make arrangements with a private licensed hauler or recycler. Refer to Yellow Pages or call hazardous waste.

The SWA will take small amounts of metallic mercury and MCDs at no cost. Call first 561-687-1100.

HVAC contractors should recycle mercury thermostats through the Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC).
Metal, Scrap
Steel, aluminum, copper and most metals are not only recyclable but have a high market value.

Take to a scrap metal recycler and get paid by weight for your materials. Also see the Yellow Pages for "scrap metals."
Paint
Liquid paints present handling problems in the municipal solid waste stream as they have the potential to create unsightly road stains, or runoff causing contamination of surrounding vegetation and soils.

Paint cans that are empty, or cans that have paint that is completely dry, may be discarded in the regular garbage. Remove the lids and put the cans in a garbage bag. Paint cans set at the curb are usually not picked up by haulers.

Bulk liquids are banned from landfills in Florida.

Oil-Based Paint
Oil-based paints are usually combustible or flammable and may contain hazardous solvents or other hazardous materials as well. Paint from businesses may be regulated as a hazardous waste (see hazardous waste section).

Latex Paint
For latex paint, if the can is 1/3 full, or less, the paint may be dried. Pour cat litter (clay type), or saw dust into the paint, stir it, and allow it to stand until the paint has completely dried, then discard the cans of solid paint with regular trash or garbage (keep lids off when putting in trash).

Usable latex paint that is brought to hazardous waste is sent to a paint manufacturer who remanufactures it into usable recycled latex paint.
Pesticides
Pesticides should be used as directed or returned to distributor if possible.

Do not mix materials. Store liquids and solids separately.

Keep in original containers or make sure containers are labeled. Contact a hazardous waste disposal contractor (PDF).

The State of Florida offers disposal for cancelled, suspended , or unusable pesticides to agricultural and related business through it's Operation Cleansweep Program. The program is subject to funding availability.

Contact FDEP for Operation Cleansweep information.
Pesticides, Empty Containers
Follow directions on the label.

Large quantities of empty pesticide or herbicide containers may also be delivered to the landfill, however containers must be triple rinsed and inspected by Hazwaste prior to disposal. Standard practice is to mix the rinse water into the new product or solution to be used. Empty bags must be placed in plastic garbage bags and sealed.

Agricultural operations can legally bury or burn empty containers on their own land but this practice is not recommended.

Large quantities of plastic containers may be eligible for recycling through a program run by the Ag Container Recycling Council. Contact the ACRC here.
Pharmaceuticals
Many pharmaceuticals and personal care products contain chemicals that have been found in minute amounts throughout our water bodies and the environment. They are not easily removed by conventional wastewater treatment methods and are said to be "persistent". Some believe that evidence is building that they may have harmful effects.

Medical facilities, practitioners, and retailers should return expired and unused medicines to their supplier or to a private company specializing in handling these products. One such local company is RX Automation.

Pharmaceuticals and personal care products should not be flushed down the toilet or drain. Instead it is now recommended (for most types) that they be removed from their container and put in the trash in such a way as to make them unrecognizable, such as by mixing with old coffee grounds.

For more info visit EPA's website on pharmaceuticals and the FDEP's website on medicines.
Photo Waste, X-Ray Waste & Film
Significant amount of recoverable silver remains in unprocessed black and white film materials such as negatives, motion picture films, x-ray film, and microfilms. Processed black and white materials have about half the amount as unprocessed.

Unprocessed color film contains a much smaller amount of silver than black and white materials. Processed color negatives, transparencies, and prints do not contain silver.

Various companies can recover silver from film and photo developing solutions for little or no charge depending on quantity. See Hazardous Waste Disposal Contractor list (PDF).

Wastewater utilities have restrictions on photo process wastes that can be discharged into the sewer. Contact you local wastewater utility.
Radioactive Materials
Regulated radioactive materials are not accepted by the SWA. The owner of a regulated radioactive source generally must be licensed and the disposal of radioactive source materials is tightly controlled by Federal and State regulations. Contact the Florida Department of Health Bureau of Radiation Control directly or HWS for assistance.

The SWA also has radiation detectors in place at all of its transfer stations and disposal facilities. Any load that triggers an alarm will be rejected. At this time 1 of 3 things will happen:
  • If the origin of the waste load can be identified, such as from a hospital or medical facility, the hauler will return the load to the generator.
  • If the load is non-specific, such as from residential areas, the hauler may return the load to their own yard and either remove the source or wait for the source to decay if possible .
  • SWA may at its discretion, accept the load at the landfill. Procedures have been developed for landfill discharge and monitoring. Special waste disposal rates may apply.
All alarms and incidents are reported to the State Bureau of Radiation Control with the hauler's contact information.

For radioactive materials emergencies or for more information contact the DOH Bureau of Radiation Control at 407-297-2095 (24 hours).
Refrigerants
Refrigerants have been known to harm the earth's ozone layer since the 1980s. Many types were banned and replaced with less harmful types. Refrigerants are often generically called 'Freon' which is a brand name.

It is illegal to release refrigerant gases into the atmosphere.

Persons working with refrigerants commercially must be certified by the EPA, have the proper equipment to recover refrigerant from the machinery, and log their purchase and use of refrigerants.

The SWA accepts empty refrigerant cylinders only for scrap metal recycling. After the cylinder has been properly emptied, keep the valve open and punch a hole in the top or side.

For more info go to the EPA's website for ozone.
Secure Disposal
The SWA is in the solid waste disposal business, and not the secure destruction business. Any material that is placed in the trash, delivered to a transfer station, or directly to the Waste-to-Energy Plant may in fact not be incinerated. Wastes may be diverted to the landfill or other facilities without notice. There can be no validation of destruction made at any point along the disposal route.

In special circumstances the SWA may allow for witnessed disposal in the landfill. The SWA does not make special arrangements for secure destruction except for law enforcement agencies.

Also see Drugs, Guns.
Septage
The City of West Palm Beach has a receiver (dump station) that accepts septage, wastewater sludge, and other non-hazardous liquid wastes. Contact East Central Regional WWTP at 561-835-7400 and 4325 N Haverhill Rd, WPB (off Ernest Dr) for policy and procedures and cost.

Also check with your local wastewater utility.

Also see Liquid Wastes.
Special Wastes
Special wastes include materials such as contaminated soils, manufacturing process wastes, filter media, or any material which is not typical garbage or trash and may require analysis, inspection, or special handling by the SWA.

Special wastes must be approved by the SWA prior to acceptance. Disposal costs may vary depending on the material. Special wastes are not accepted by SWA from outside of Palm Beach county.

Soils and soil-like materials may be acceptable for materials blending at Rinker in Miami or for fill at other local landfills. Contact these companies directly for information.

Contact Hazardous Waste Services for procedures on special waste disposal, at 561-687-1100.
Street Sweepings
Street sweepings may be disposed in a lined landfill only. The SWA accepts street sweepings at the trash rate.
Tanks
Tanks that are empty and free of all product or waste material may be disposed in the landfill.

Remove all caps and port openings. Tanks 55 gallons or smaller are treated as drums. Large tanks must have the ends cut off and cut in half lengthwise. Cutting tanks previously containing flammable materials should be done by a professional only.

All tanks or drums must be inspected by HWS prior to disposal.

Also see Drums.
Tires
Tires may be delivered to the landfill for disposal. See Rate Sheet.

Tires are not accepted at the transfer stations.

Anyone transporting more than 25 tires at a time is required to obtain a permit or license from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). There area also rules against stockpiling tires. Get more tire information as well as a list of licensed haulers and processors at the FDEP website.

The nearest waste tire processor is Florida Tire Recycling in Port St. Lucie.
Used Oil & Oil Filters
Used oil and used oil filters are banned from landfill in Florida. Generators need to follow State regulations concerning the proper storage and management of used oil and filters.

Do not mix used oil with antifreeze or chlorinated solvents. Doing so may result in very costly disposal. Small amounts of similar materials such as hydraulic fluids and some fuels may be acceptable, but check with your used oil hauler first.

Many service stations and auto parts stores (and SWA) will accept up to 5 gallons only. For larger amounts contact a commercial hauler. Some will provide drums or containers. Most Used Oil service companies also offer used oil filter recycling services.

Also see the Yellow Pages for "oil, used."

For used oil regulations and info contact FDEP at 561-681-6600, or go to their website for used oil.
Vegetation
Vegetation, also called yard trash or woody waste, is banned from direct landfill in Florida because of the large quantity generated and the amount of space it would take up in a landfill.

Several private companies in the county specialize in processing vegetation only and some of the private C/D recyclers accept it as well.

Private yard trash processors are generally cheaper than C/D recyclers or the SWA. Processors do not accept painted or treated wood as vegetation is generally chipped to create mulch or composted.

All private waste processing and recycling companies in Palm Beach County must be permitted by the SWA. See a list of Permitted Facilities.
Vehicles, RVs, Trailers
Vehicles, except for RVs and trailers, are not accepted at the SWA.

Take to an automotive scrap yard.
Waste Exchange
If you have usable waste materials, hazardous or non-hazardous, you may be able to find a home for it through the Southern Waste Information eXchange (SWIX).

SWIX promotes recycling and reuse of solid and hazardous waste by bringing together generators and users of industrial waste. Call 800-441-7949.
Wood - Treated
Treated wood products have the potential to leach out hazardous chemicals into the environment or affect personal health if handled improperly. Treated wood types include Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA), Creosote, and Pentachlorophenol (PCP).

Treated wood should not be mulched, burned, used for fuel, or used on-site when removed from service. It must be disposed in lined landfills only or at a C/D site operating under Best Management Practices to separate materials before processing.

Job sites should place treated wood in separate roll-offs. Sawdust should be bagged and placed in the same container.

The SWA also accepts treated wood as C/D waste. There are no acceptable recycling alternatives available.