One of the leading reasons people hoard old items in their shed, garage or house is because they simply don’t know the right way to get rid of them. Chances are if you take a look around your house you have plenty of old phones, batteries, headphones, and TVs that are just sitting taking up space.

If those things aren’t being used, and you want to throw them out but don’t know how, then take a look below for some help!

Car or Motor Oil

In every state, it’s illegal to simply dump motor oil somewhere, especially down the drain. This is because of the major environmental damage it causes to waterways, as well as water processing facilities. To put it into perspective, it takes only 1 gallon of motor oil to contaminate more than 1 million gallons of water!

The easiest and the only legal way you can get rid of the motor oil you might have sitting around your home or work is to pour it into a sealed container and take it to a local recycling centre or waste processing facility. This way it can be taken care of in a legal way, and ensure you won’t be fined for causing environmental damage.


This is the big one. Almost every home in the world will be filled with electronic devices or things that work with those devices, and there are comprehensive regulations you’ll need to follow to remove them, and for good reason. More than 70% of the heavy metals and lead in landfill come from e-waste alone.

So, if you have an old TV, DVD player, CDs or even smartphones and video cameras, make sure that you take them to a recycling centre, or have a removal service take it for you. There are plenty of places around cities that take care of this type of waste because it’s so common, so it won’t be too hard for you to find somewhere to take it.


This one falls into a similar vein as the oils. Paints, coatings, and varnishes are all highly toxic, so much so that they’re listed as a hazardous household waste material. This means you’ll need to make sure they end up somewhere that keeps them away from animals and the environment. No throwing these out in the garden, down the drain or anywhere else.

If you have full cans of paint, take these back to the store you bought them from. Other paints you can donate to places like schools or extracurricular programs as they might need it as a supply. If you do want to have it discarded though, make sure that you take the paints to a processing facility to be broken down and disposed of.


There are a tonne of different ways you can get rid of batteries legally. But none of those ways includes throwing them into the bin. All batteries need to be discarded in an environmentally friendly way in order to be compliment with regulation. That means simple single-use batteries like those in TV remotes have to be given to recycling points, or packed up and sent to a disposal facility.

Lead acid batters like those found in cars have to be handed over to the store where you’ll be buying a new battery. They’ll be able to take care of it for you in a compliant way.

Removable smartphone batteries will need to be sent to a national or local processor. Usually, you can request a return packet and ship the batteries off for free.

Older light bulbs are the biggest issue here. Fluorescents and CFLs contain mercury which is highly toxic to humans as well as the environment, so it’s best to take these bulbs to a recycling or waste facility to make sure they’re taken care of correctly.

LEDs aren’t as dangerous but still shouldn’t be thrown into general waste as they contain lead and some other chemicals that are toxic to the environment, so it’s best that you take these to a processing facility too, or at least somewhere they won’t be thrown into landfill.

Fire Alarms

The first thing you’ll have to do with your fire alarms is to figure out if they are an ICSD or a combination fire alarm. This is because ICSDs will have a small amount of radiation emitted to sense smoke in a room, making them hazardous – and not to be thrown into the trash.

General smoke detectors typically have a photosensor for smoke, as well as a radiation-emitting one, so be sure to take both types of fire alarms to a processing facility. These can’t be thrown away. Also, make sure to remove the batteries from both types of units too.

Mercury Thermometers

Although these have been phased out in most cities and countries, you might still have one sitting around somewhere and you’re unsure of how to dispose of it. Well, as these types of thermometers have about 500 milligrams of mercury in them it makes them highly toxic to humans. Absorbing mercury into the skin or orally because of an accidental break can cause nerve and organ failure which can be fatal.

The best way to remove one of these thermometers is to store it in a container or plastic bag that you can be sure won’t let it break, and then take it to a waste pressing facility, or contact a removal team to take it away for you with all of your other rubbish. This way it’s kept out of the environment and there’s little chance of anyone being hurt.


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