Some waste produced from the home is classed as hazardous waste and more care and attention is needed to recycle or dispose of it.

Please ask recycling site staff if you are unsure whether items you are disposing of should be considered hazardous.

Items classed as hazardous include:

  • Antifreeze
  • Asbestos
  • Car batteries
  • Car tyres
  • DIY and garden chemicals
  • Electrical items, such as fridges, freezers, computer monitors.
  • Engine oil
  • Fire extinguishers (domestic only, charges may apply as per gas bottle rates)
  • Gas containers (charges apply)
  • Household batteries
  • Lead-based paint
  • Low energy light bulbs and fluorescent tubes (see below for more information)
  • Paint thinners
  • Plasterboard 
  • Plastic oil tank
  • Solvents

This is not a comprehensive list.

Also see advice on Japanese Knotweed and Common Ragwort and on Chalara dieback of ash trees.

All recycling sites accept

  • Household chemicals including gardening, DIY and engine fluids
  • Low energy light bulbs and fluorescent tubes
  • Car batteries, tyres (charges apply)
  •  and engine oil
  • Household batteries, toner cartridges and mobile phones
  • Electrical items
  • Gas containers (charges apply) Empty gas cylinders or oxygen bottles can be returned to the original supplier or manufacturer.

The following are not accepted or require special handling

  • Ammunition and explosives
  • Asbestos
  • Fireworks
  • Medicines
  • Mercury
  • Petrol and Diesel (fuel must be removed from all machinery intended for recycling)
  • Plastic oil tank (oil must be removed before taking tank to recycling site)
  • Roofing felt containing bitumen
  • Storage heaters

See below for further guidance

Low energy light bulbs and fluorescent tubes

These can be taken to all Somerset recycling sites for safe recycling.

Some retailers have collection points for low energy light bulbs see Recycle Now or Recolight for local details.

Unbroken low energy bulbs and fluorescent tubes

They should be taken, no need to wrap or bag, and placed in the ‘low energy bulb’ bin.

Broken low energy bulbs and fluorescent tubes

Handle with care as they contain mercury. It is good practice to minimise unnecessary exposure to mercury, as well as the risk of cuts from glass fragments. A vacuum cleaner should not be used to clear up a broken bulb or tube. Health Protection Agency advice is to:

  • Ventilate the room (15 minutes is suggested).
  • Place fragments in a plastic bag (you may wish to wear rubber gloves). The bag doesn’t need to be air tight but should be reasonably sturdy.
  • Wipe the area with a damp cloth, and then place that in the bag.
  • Sticky tape (for example, duct tape or similar) can be used to pick up small residual pieces or powder from soft furnishings. The tape can then be placed in the bag.
  • Double bag by sealing the bag and placing it in another similar bag and sealing that one as well.

When double bagged and sealed, the broken bulb can be taken to be put in the low energy light bulb bins at recycling centres. Please take care that glass fragments do not cut the sealed bags or your fingers.

Ammunition and explosives

Do not take ammunition or explosives to recycling centres. Phone the police on 101 to get advice. If you find what could be unexploded ordnance, phone 999 immediately.


Do not put fireworks, even when fully spent, on the bonfire or bury them. Fully spent fireworks (but not if misfired or partly spent) can be put out with refuse or in disposal skips at recycling centres. Misfired or partly spent fireworks should be soaked in a container of water and the manufacturer or supplier contacted for guidance on disposal.


Return unused medicines to a pharmacist. If you need a clinical collection for disposal of medical waste, contact your council for details of the free clinical waste collection service.


Recycling sites do not accept mercury. You should contact specialist hazardous waste processors.

Petrol and diesel

You cannot take petrol and diesel to the recycling centres. Petrol and diesel should be taken to a garage for reuse or disposal. Fuel must be removed from all machinery intended for recycling, such as mowers, strimmers etc.

Plastic oil tanks

You can take old plastic oil tanks to a recycling site for disposal free of charge. Before you arrive ensure the tank is completely dry inside and contains no oil. Contact your local recycling centre before arriving to ensure they have capacity to accept your old tank.

Roofing felt

Roofing felt that contains bitumen is classified as a hazardous waste and can only be disposed of via the Priorswood Material Recovery Facility adjacent to the Taunton (Priorswood) Recycling Centre. To arrange disposal, call 01823 338035 (Option 4).  For prices, see “construction and demolition waste” on the Biffa commercial waste price list on the business waste page.

Storage heaters

These may contain asbestos and so should not be broken up, but handled and disposal arranged in the same way as for cement bonded and sheet asbestos. Read more about asbestos disposal.

Last reviewed: April 2, 2023 by Jenny

Next review due: October 2, 2023

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