You can dispose of some special waste in regular trash or recycling if you follow specific rules. Some items may also be taken to a retailer or business that specializes in waste disposal.
Appliances with CFCs
Chlorofluorocarbon gas (CFC), also called Freon, is found in appliances that cool or chill, such as:
- Air conditioners
You must make an appointment to dispose of these appliances so the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) can remove the CFCs safely. Learn more on the CFC and Freon Removal page.
Check if your local gas or service station will accept antifreeze if properly packaged. You can also contact a hazardous material or chemical waste disposal company.
You can't throw away asbestos in the trash. For handling, storage, and disposal of asbestos or items containing asbestos, contact a private hazardous or chemical waste company.
Automotive and Scooter Batteries
Bring automotive and scooter batteries to a retail store or service station that sells them. If you buy a new battery at the same time or within 30 days, the $5 tax on the new battery will be waived or refunded.
You may be fined for putting automotive batteries in the regular trash or recycling.
Rechargeable Household Batteries
It's illegal to put rechargeable batteries in your trash or recycling.
This includes batteries from:
- Cell phones
- Digital cameras
You can drop them off for free at many stores, including most Staples and Best Buy locations. Learn more on the Rechargeable Battery Recycling page.
Non-Rechargeable Household Batteries
You may put non-rechargeable alkaline household batteries in your regular trash.
Cooking Oil or Grease
Household Cooking Oil
Pouring cooking oil or grease down the drain causes sewer backups.
Dispose of cooking oil and grease by pouring it into a leak-proof container made of plastic or metal. Clearly label the container as containing cooking oil, then place it next to or in your regular trash.
Learn more on the Cooking Oil and Grease Disposal page.
Restaurant Cooking Oil
Restaurants must use a private carter to dispose of their cooking oil.
Certain electronics contain hazardous materials, including lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium.
- Small servers
- MP3 players
- VCRs/DVDs/DVR players
- Fax machines
- Video game consoles
- Cable/satellite boxes
- Computer mice
You can learn how to dispose of unwanted e-waste on the Electronics Disposal page.
For electric appliances that aren’t covered by the State’s e-waste law, such as microwaves, fans, or irons, you should remove the battery and dispose of them curbside following normal trash or recycling disposal rules.
Fire Extinguishers and Compressed Gas Tanks
Fire Extinguishers and Helium Tanks
You can put fire extinguishers and helium tanks out for recycling collection, exchange them for full tanks when buying new ones, or take them back to where you bought them.
If you put them out for collection, first empty them and remove the head. To empty an extinguisher, spray it into a damp paper bag.
The Department of Sanitation does not collect propane gas tanks, such as those used by gas barbecues, because they are pressurized and may explode when compressed in the garbage truck.
- Exchange a used tank when buying a new tank
- Bring a tank to a hardware store or private propane dealer for reuse or recycling
- Bring a used tank to a scrap metal dealer for recycling
For a partial list of propane gas vendors, visit the Propane Tank Storage and Disposal page.
Oxygen or Acetylene Tanks
The Department of Sanitation does not collect pressurized oxygen or acetylene tanks because they can explode when compressed by garbage trucks.
You should exchange old, pressurized oxygen and acetylene tanks when purchasing a new cylinder. If the retailer refuses to accept the old cylinder, or you aren't buying a new one, contact another dealer about correct disposal. Welding equipment and scrap metal dealers may accept old cylinders.
Highly flammable liquids include:
- Heating oil
- Lighter fluid
Never pour these liquids down the drain or in a sewer. Contact a hazardous material or chemical waste disposal company.
Light Bulbs and Lamps
You can double bag incandescent or compact fluorescent light bulbs and lamps and put them in your regular household trash. You can also drop them off at some home improvement stores, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, or Ikea.
Bulbs longer than 4 feet are not accepted at Special Waste Sites and must be put in the garbage.
To learn how to dispose of syringes and other medical waste, visit the Medical Waste Disposal page.
Medicine and Prescription Drugs
Refer to the printed material that came with your prescription medication for specific disposal instructions.
If you do not have specific instructions, mix prescription drugs with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter. Then put them in a solid and non-descript container such as an empty can or sealable bag before putting them in your regular trash.
You can also mail back unwanted medication or find additional drop-off locations.
You can bring motor oil to any service station that changes oil or any retailer that sells oil. These locations are required by law to accept up to five gallons of oil per day, per person, for free.
Paint, Paint Thinner, Turpentine, Household Chemicals, or Tar
You can throw out small amounts of oil-based paint, paint thinner, turpentine, household chemicals, or tar in your regular trash. If you need to throw out more than a couple of cans, contact a private hauler or environmental services company.
To dispose of these items with your regular trash, you must pour any remaining liquid into a black trash bag filled with kitty litter, newspaper, or other absorbent materials. This will help soak up the liquid and keep it from leaking. Put the empty, dry can or container in your recycling if it's made of metal, glass, or plastic. If the container isn't recyclable, discard it with your trash.
To throw out more than a couple of cans of these liquids, contact a private hauler or environmental services company.
Thermometers and Thermostats
Find additional drop-off locations.
You can bring unwanted tires to any business that sells them. DSNY Garages are not accepting passenger car tires for disposal until further notice.