Text Size
Increase text size
Increase text size

How do I ...?


Frequently asked questions

If you can't find the information that you're looking for on our web site and your question isn't included in the Frequently Asked Questions or How Do I ...?, please feel free to contact us at comments.hmwmd@state.co.us .





Syringes, pen needles and lancets are not recyclable and should never be place in a recycle bin. 


The preferred option is to use a commercially available sharps container that you take to a local sharps collection program if one is available.  Programs are currently available in Mesa, Larimer and El Paso counties and are restricted to residents of those counties. 


If a local program is not available, the next preferred option is to utilize a sharps mailback program where the service provider sends you a prepaid sharps collection container and return box.  When you return the container, the contents are sent to a medical waste treatment facility for processing and disposal.


If you can't afford to utilize a mailback service, you should place your used sharps in a strong plastic or metal container with a screw-on lid or lid that can be tightly secured.  Do not use glass containers or used milk containers.  Clearly label the container with the words "Sharps" or "Biohazardous Waste."  The securely sealed container can be placed in your trash.  Do NOT put the container in with your recyclables.


Medical and Pharmaceutial Waste Information for Households

Household hazardous waste includes wastes like used oil, paint, fluorescent lamps, pesticides, solvents and degreasers, batteries, pool and hot tub chemicals, thermometers and wood preservatives generated in and around the home. Some local communities have household hazardous waste collection programs for their residents in order to minimize the amount of these wastes being disposed of in local landfills.  These may include drop-off sites with fixed hours, curbside collection with scheduled pickup or single day round-up events. These programs are usually limited to residents of the city or county that sponsors them.  If a collection program is not available in your area, or if you are moving and can't wait for a scheduled event, most household wastes can be treated to make them safer for landfill disposal.


Managment of Household Wastes


If a mercury-containing thermometer, fluorescent lamp or compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) gets broken in your home or business, you should clean it up as quickly as possible.  If not cleaned up properly, the mercury vaporizes slowly over time and exposes you, your family or your employees to toxic fumes.


Broken Thermometer and Fluorescent Bulb Cleanup Guidance for Households pdf file   


Mercury Spill and Fluorescent Bulb Cleanup Guidance for Businesses pdf file   


There are numerous recycling drop-off centers througout the state.  Most accept common recyclables like paper and aluminum, while others accept things like yard waste or electronic (computer) waste.


Find A Recycler


Recycling and Beneficial Use


The Division doesn't regulate trash disposal companies.  Some cities provide trash disposal services to their residents, while others license trash disposal companies that operate within their jurisdictions.  Many cities and counties don't do either, in which case you have to contract directly with a private trash disposal service.  Contact your local city government or visit their web page to determine what types of service, if any, are provided.  If your city provides trash disposal services or licenses trash disposal companies, you can get information regarding how to obtain service or file a complaint from the city.  If not, look in the business directory portion of your telephone book or an online telephone directory to find companies in your area.

The Division offers several resources to help you understand the regulations and how they apply to you.  We have a wide array of guidance and policy documents available online 24 hours a day, including summaries of notifications, certifications, registrations and permits as they apply to our various programs.  Our Customer Technical Assistance line is available 8 am - noon, Monday through Friday to answer questions about the regulations and to provide general regulatory interpretations. In addition, our technical staff are available to provide site-specific answers and interpretations.  If you generate smaller quantities of hazardous waste, you may want to take advantage of our onsite Generator Assistance Program where one of our hazardous waste inspectors provides guidance and tips for you to get into and stay in compliance with the regulations during a non-enforcement site visit.  Finally, the Division offers workshops and other trainings throughout the year designed to clarify the regulations and provide an open forum for questions.


Guidance and Policy Documents


Customer Technical Assistance Program


Contact our Technical Staff


Generator Assistance Program


Learning Opportunities and Assistance


You must submit a completed Colorado Hazardous Waste Notification of Regulated Waste Activity form with original inked signatures along with the notification fee to the Division in order to obtain a unique EPA Identification number for your facility.  The notification form is available online along with instructions on how to complete it.  Please allow two to four weeks to process the form.  If you need assistance completing the form or have questions, contact the Division's Notification Coordinator at 303-692-3360 (1-888-569-1831 ext. 3360 toll-free outside the 303/720 area code), or call our Customer Technical Assistance line at 303-692-3320 (1-888-569-1831 ext. 3320).


Notification of Regulated Waste Activity


Generator Fees and Notification Requirements pdf file


The Division maintains summaries of permits, notifications, registrations and certifications required by our regulations.  These summaries include information on who needs one, the process to get one and associated fees, among other things.


Permits, Notifications, Registrations and Certifications


In parts of Western Colorado, uranium mill tailings were historically used in place of more expensive sand or aggregate in concrete mix, bedding for utility lines, backfill around new construction and in building materials like brick and stucco.  Use of these materials increased potential exposure to gamma radiation and radon gas, and poses a long-term health concern.  Although many properties have been cleaned up, many properties have yet to be remediated.  Property-specific assistance to determine if your property may have been impacted can be obtained from the Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Program at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Grand Junction office.


Mike Cosby, Project Manager  970-248-7171

Kate Elsberry, Program Assistant  970-248-7164


Uranium Mill Tailings in Western Colorado website



You can find contact information for local health and environment agencies at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Office of Planning and Partnerships website.


Office of Planning and Partnerships



Spills and releases to the environment should be reported to the statewide toll-free Colorado Environmental Release and Incident Reporting line at 1-877-518-5608.  Information on other reporting requirements can also be obtained.


Environmental Spill Reporting Guidance Document pdf file

Environmental Spill Reporting Brochure pdf file


To determine if a particular property has or had environmental contamination that the Division has been made aware of, or to review inspection and enforcement reports, you can make a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request to review public files associated with the property's address.  The Division will review your request to determine if we have any files on that address and if so, set up an appointment with you to review the files.  If you wish to review files for another division (Air, Water, etc.), you must contact each division individually.


Records Review


Hazardous Waste


The Division posts quarterly inspection and enforcement reports online listing hazardous waste facilities that have been inspected in the past year.  For more complete information regarding the compliance history of a hazardous waste site or facility, visit U.S. EPA's Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) website at www.epa.gov/echo/ .  This site contains information on hazardous waste facilities in Colorado and other states.



The Division offers an Environmental Records Search service for a fee to search division databases for sites within a set radius of the site of interest (e.g., your home).  A records search only identifies properties that we have files on and does not evaluate the existence or potential for environmental contamination.  The absence of information on properties on or near a particular site of interest does not necessarily meant that there are no environmental concerns connected with the property.


Environmental Records Search


You may also perform a search yourself using U.S. EPA's online databases (exit to EPA). 




Cleanups in My Community Web Tool