Properly Dispose of Household Hazardous Waste

Ever wonder what to do with your old paint cans and pesticides? You’re not alone! First off, here’s how NOT to dispose of your household hazardous waste:

  • Don’t dump it down the sink (the sewage treatment plant is not equipped to properly treat household hazardous waste)
  • Don’t dump it down the storm sewer (in many communities, the storm sewer drains to the nearest creek or lake)
  • Don’t bury it in your backyard (leakage of buried waste can contaminate groundwater).

Unfortunately, not many vendors accept unwanted household hazardous waste. But there are a few that take very specific types of waste, such as light bulbs, batteries, medication, and motor oil. If you live in east-central Illinois, visit regional household hazardous waste for more information on what different vendors will accept. If you live in northern Illinois, there are a few permanent waste collection facilities where you can drop off certain items.

If none of the above options rid you of all your household hazardous waste, store it in a cool, dry place until there is a local or regional household hazardous waste collection event. Sometimes the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency or local governments or groups will hold a special, one-day collection. These collections should be advertised in newspapers and other forms of public media. Due to the great expense involved, years may pass between collections.

Household hazardous waste includes:

  • paint and paint removers
  • batteries
  • light bulbs
  • mercury thermometers
  • medications
  • pesticides
  • fertilizers
  • pool chemicals
  • motor oil
  • antifreeze
  • lubricants
  • drain cleaners
  • household cleaners.