Chemical Safety - Recycling: What do you do with old chemicals?

Many chemical products pass their expiry date, are replaced by newer products, are banned by legislation, or are simply no longer needed. What do you do with these old products? How do you dispose of them safely?

Chemical products you may need to dispose of

  • Smoke alarms
  • Batteries - lead acid batteries for cars and boats, etc
  • Batteries - mobile phone and other rechargeable batteries
  • BCF fire extinguishers containing halon gases that affect the ozone layer
  • Distress flares
  • LPG cylinders
  • Medications
  • Paints and solvents
  • Used motor oil

How and where to dispose

Smoke alarms

Ionisation type smoke alarms are slightly radioactive, and up to 10 may be placed in the regular household rubbish. For further information see our Safe disposal of smoke alarms fact sheet.

Batteries - rechargeable

Return to your supplier, or dispose of at household chemical collections.

Batteries - lead acid

Take to your local council's waste transfer station. Normal dry cell batteries can be placed in your regular household rubbish.

BCF fire extinguishers

Return to your local Fire and Rescue NSW station.

Hazardous chemicals

Dispose of at household chemical collections. Most councils accept chemicals at their waste transfer stations on a daily basis. Check with your local council first.

Distress flares

For information on the best means of disposal contact the manufacturer. Do not dispose of distress flares in household collections.

LPG cylinders

Dispose of at household chemical collections.


Return to your chemist.

Paints and solvents

Dispose of at household chemical collections

Used motor oil

Take to your local service station, or dispose of at household chemical collections.


  • Have you inspected your chemical storage areas and container seals recently?
  • Have you contacted your local council to discard old or leftover chemicals? (See Department of Environment and Climate Change NSW [external link])
  • Follow first-aid instructions. If skin or eyes are burnt, if chemical has been swallowed or ingested or fumes inhaled - seek immediate medical attention.
  • Remember the Poisons Information Line: 131 126

In an Emergency Call Triple Zero (000)

A collaboration of the Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Rural Fire Service, ACT Fire Brigade and ACT Rural Fire Service