Hazardous Waste and Hoarding

Hazardous waste is generally defined as anything that can be possibly harmful to individuals or the environment. It is a distinct type of waste because hazardous waste cannot be disposed of like regular garbage in our day-to-day existence. Depending on the type of hazardous waste, some may carry the threat of bacteria, viruses – and as a result, diseases- which can spread easily. Other types are dangerous because they emit chemicals and/or compounds that can lead to severe or fatal illnesses (e.g. cancer).

Due to the seriousness of hazardous waste, the disposal of them is regulated by the states or counties. The cleanup of biomedical and blood-borne microorganisms is governed by state and federal statutes. This means that not just anyone can clear up hazardous materials. The law requires that clean ups be executed by workers with proper training and certifications.

For hoarders who have been living in precarious conditions, they may not be aware of the danger they are in, or that they are causing to those around them. Many times there are copious amounts of putrefying trash, dead animals, excrement, mold, and mildew found in cluttered and dilapidated homes.

Some of the items hazardous waste teams are needed to remove are:

Human fluids

Human feces

Animal droppings (e.g. rodents, pigeons, other vermin)

Unknown waste investigation (accumulation as in the case of hoarding)

Asbestos Disposal



Impacted Soil and Water





Light bulbs

Cellular phones



This list is not exhaustive and it would be wise to check with local government to ensure proper disposal of any questionable materials. Merely discarding hazardous waste in the conventional way could cause serious health problems for others. Not only are special cleaning agents needed after the hazardous substances are removed, but special equipment needs to be worn to handle them and the substances need to be disposed of in the correct manner.

Hazardous waste removal can be quite costly, with prices varying by company and location. Some junk removal companies are licensed for hazardous waste removal as well. In order to get a price quote, the company will need to do an on-site investigation to see what exactly is needed to bring the home back to habitable conditions. Based on the exact situation, some companies truly want to help people suffering with a hoarding disorder and base their pricing on the current circumstance.

If you, or someone you know, are uncertain of the necessity of hazardous waste removal services, your best bet is to have a company or two do an onsite investigation for you. This initial consultation and price quote may be free and you can have peace of mind that everyone will be safe as decluttering is handled.


  1. I have a cousin who is a hoarder. Fortunately, he just recently agreed to receive help and is learning to let go of the things he has. It sounds like he might have a hazardous waste problem that we’ll have to address. Like you said, some states regulate the disposal of this waste, so we’ll probably call in professional help.

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