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Don't Throw Until You Know

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Harmful chemicals and materials make it into our waste stream every day that could potentially have a serious impact on our environment. In many cases, this happens because  residents are not aware of how to properly dispose of these materials. To assist our residents, we have an online tool known at the Waste Wizard which provides information on how to dispose of and/or recycle just about any material. Simply visit and search for just about any material. Some common materials searched for are listed below.

Smoke Detectors (Not All Are Created Equal)

Smoke detectors fall into two main categories, Ionization and Photoelectric. If you are looking to dispose of a Photoelectric model, that can simply be thrown away in household trash however, Ionization models contain a small amount of radioactive material and must be properly recycled at our DPW Yard during normal business hours. 

Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers can be dropped off at the Department of Public Works Yard, 356 Commercial Street, during normal business hours but cannot be left without being checked in by a staff person.


Paint must be recycled at one of our two Household Hazardous Waste Days that occur in October and April each year. 

Light Bulbs

Fluorescent and Compact Fluorescent light bulbs must be recycled at the DPW Yard.  All other light bulbs can be thrown away in household trash. 

Toxic Spills, Asbestos Exposure, Harmful Gases and Other Environmental and Safety Emergencies

If there is an emergency related to exposure to any of these, please dial 911.  If you are uncertain about whether or not there has been exposure or on the identification of a hazardous material, please contact the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection at 617-292-5500 or visit

Looking for more?  Be sure to visit our Waste Wizard database and search hundreds of materials for information on how to dispose of them.  If you cannot find a material listed, please contact the Malden Department of Public Works at 781-397-7160 and ask that we add information to the Waste Wizard.