Hazardous substances defined
Hazardous substances are chemicals that may be toxic or harmful to people, animals or the environment. These include:
- corrosives (acids and alkaline)
- explosives and fireworks
- flammable liquids (eg fuels, paints and solvents)
- flammable gases and aerosols (eg LPG and spray cans)
- flammable solids (eg sodium metal, sulphur, silicon powder)
- oxidising materials (chlorine, iodine, hypochlorite-bleach, peroxides)
- toxics (cleaning fluids, pesticides and other garden chemicals).
Safe storage and use of hazardous substances is essential to safeguard the health of Wellington's environment and population.
The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act sets out the rules that apply across New Zealand. (The Act supersedes the Dangerous Goods Act and other legislation used to control hazardous substances.)
The Council administers the Act in public places and in private dwellings. The Wellington District Plan lists more rules, taking into account different land uses in sensitive environmental areas.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is obliged to administer the Act in workplaces.
When storing hazardous substances, make sure you:
- store substances in the correct, upright position in a dry place away from heat or flames
- keep products in the original containers with the lid on, in a cool place and out of reach of children and pets
- do not store incompatible substances next to each other (eg keep LPG cylinders away from petrol cans, and keep oxidising products away from any other hazardous substances)
- follow the instructions on the container or package
- use all of the product before purchasing more
- do not use more product than is recommended by the manufacturer
- clean up spills quickly so it does not spread into the environment - make sure you protect yourself around any spillage.
For more information on safely storing and handling hazardous substances, check the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website:
Using and Storing - EPA
The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act lists the guidelines on storing hazardous substances. To refer to the Act's regulations, you will need to know the classification of the product in question, the volume stored, and the individual container size used.
Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 - NZ Legislation
The storage of hazardous substances must also comply with the New Zealand Building Act and the Resource Management Act.
When you dispose of hazardous substances, make sure that you:
- do not mix the hazardous waste with your normal rubbish or pour it down the sink, stormwater drain or onto the ground
- read the disposal instructions on the container's label
- reuse or recycle when possible.
Safe disposal options
The Southern Landfill has a facility dedicated to the storage of household hazardous waste.
Household Hazardous Waste
Batteries, computers and mobile phones
You can now drop off some e-waste in the central city at the Sustainability Trust if you can't get to the landfill.
For more information about how to dispose of specific types of hazardous waste, check the Ministry for the Environment website:
Liquefied petroleum gas cylinders
For safe use and storage of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders at your home, refer to the following:
Requirements for Indoor LPG Cylinders - Environmental Protection Authority
Hazardous Substance Officer