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Hazardous Waste Help Line: Recapping a year of responses

Three wooden blocks spell out "FAQ" in front of an out of focus plant

Answers to King County’s most frequently asked questions in 2021

King County Hazardous Waste’s Help Line is a hotline that residents and businesses can call or email for information on how to properly dispose of household hazardous waste, use less toxic products, locate our services, or more. We love to hear from King County residents and our customers, and we enjoy being able to help you find ways to safely dispose of your hazardous waste, whatever it may look like.

Over the past year, you called, you asked, and we responded. And, in case it wasn’t you who called in, know you are not alone with your questions. Continue reading for the Haz Waste Help Line’s most commonly asked questions of 2021 – and their answers, too. 

Latex paint disposal 

Latex paint acceptance policies, how to identify latex paint, and what to do with non-accepted latex paint are among our Help Line’s most frequently asked questions. Haz waste collection sites in King County do not accept latex paint. However, Washington state’s PaintCare program can help. You can recycle latex paint products at a PaintCare drop-off site. Accepted products include latex paint, oil-based paint, stain, varnish, and more. Visit the PaintCare website or call (855) 724-6809 for more information. 

In a pinch, you can take quick steps to properly dispose of latex paint. One way is to mix clean cat litter into a can with more than an inch of paint leftover. Let the mixture solidify, then throw the can and lid away separately in the garbage. 

In order to identify if a paint is latex, make sure to look for key words or phrases such as “acrylic,” “acrylic enamel,” “acrylic paint,” “water-based,” “cleans up with water,” and if the label states that it dries on your walls in about an hour or two. If the paint has missing labels, the best option is to open the container to find out if is latex/water-based. Another but less reliable way is to check the bottom of the paint container to see if it is plastic.

Haz waste disposal locations

Our Help Line receives questions about our operating hours and locations for the disposal facilities are. King County Hazardous Waste disposal sites are located in North Seattle, South Seattle, Factoria, and Auburn. The hours of each location are as follows: 

  • North Seattle – Sunday to Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • South Seattle – Thursday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Factoria – Tuesday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Auburn – Saturday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

For the most up-to-date information about hours, locations, and observed holidays as well as any holiday closures and information about our traveling Wastemobile, please check our website homepage.

Haz waste service requirements 

Additionally, customers frequently ask if there is a cost for haz waste disposal services and if proof of residency is required to use our services. There is no charge or appointment needed to dispose of hazardous waste at King County’s disposal sites. If you are a King County resident, you can take your hazardous waste to any of the four collection sites that operate year-round or to the traveling Wastemobile to dispose of your waste.

The Hazardous Waste Management Program also offers a home collection service for both residents 65 and older and residents with disabilities who are unable to access a hazardous waste collection site. 

Sharps disposal 

Customers often ask: do you accept sharps? Sharps are not accepted at hazardous waste collection sites because they may pose a safety and health risk to our workers. Sharps, along with needles and syringes, should never go in the garbage. Our partners at Public Health – Seattle & King County offer safe and legal ways to dispose of sharps.
Washington state’s Secure Medicine Return Program accepts sharp objects and residents can drop them off at the following locations: 

  • Public Health Bellevue/East Gate
  • Factoria Recycling & Transfer Station
  • Bow Lake Recycling & Transfer Station
  • Public Health Center – Downtown Seattle, Auburn, and Federal Way 
  • Shoreline Recycling & Transfer Station

Businesses can also dispose of their sharp objects at: 

  • Vashon Recycling & Transfer Station 
  • Stericycle

Pest control

Our Hazardous Waste Help Line receives questions regarding help with mold, cockroaches, and bedbugs, such as, “I am experiencing mold and bed bugs, can someone help me make the landlord do something about them?” 

Unfortunately, we do not have pest control experts or the authority to demand landlords fix these types of issues. The Haz Waste Program can only report the issue if the resident experiences the problem at a hotel or motel. We encourage residents to check out Washington's Department of Health website for information on how to manage these situations. 

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