Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)

Contact: Christine Grossman, grossmanc@michigan.gov 517-284-6860

Household hazardous waste (HHW) includes products that we purchase and use every day in our homes that can harm us or the environment if they are not handled properly.  Use the following resources to locate HHW drop-off locations in Michigan:

  

Environmental Professionals

These pages contain information helpful to collecting discarded materials not subject to hazardous waste regulation.

HHW and Very Small Quantity Generators Hazardous Waste Collector Resources

Promote your Recycling or Hazardous Waste Collection

HHW Hazards

Common household products that are a HHW when discarded are shown below. To see if a material is a HHW, look for words such as 'warning,' 'caution,' 'flammable,' 'toxic,' 'poison,' ‘corrosive,’ ‘oxidizer,’ etc. on the labels. If you have leftover, unwanted household materials that are hazardous, it is best to routinely take them to a local HHW collection if one is available. Never pour HHW into a storm drain or down a drain in your home.  If a collection is not available, contact your trash hauler to see if there are special instructions for safely disposing of the material in the regular trash.  

To learn more about HHW hazards and how to find drop-off locations that divert these materials from landfill disposal, click on the pictures for the materials listed below.

Acids/Bases Aerosol Cans Antifreeze Batteries Cleansers
Compressed Gas Cylinders E cigaretees icon Electronic Waste Light Bulbs Medical Infectious Waste
Medications Mercury Paint and Stains Pesticides Smoke Detectors
Tires Used Oil/Oil Filters      

 

Questions About Health Effects

For help with questions about the health effects from contaminants in the home and environment, contact the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Toxics Hotline at 800-648-6942.  DHHS has toxicologists on hand to answer questions from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For help if someone accidentally swallows something that may be toxic, contact the Michigan Poison Center at 800-222-1222 or call your local emergency responder phone number for help.


REDUCE HHW

  • Check the label before you buy - If you see a cautionary notice, understand that this material will become a household hazardous waste if not used up properly.

  • Use the product as the manufacturer instructs - Companies are required to test their products to comply with federal regulations. Directions should be followed to get maximum benefit from the products you use without compromising your safety.

  • Buy only what you need - Some products cost more to dispose than they do to purchase. So use forethought when purchasing products that may be costly for you or your community to dispose.
  • Store products safely - Children, pets, and others may accidentally injure themselves if products are not safely stored. So make sure these types of materials are stored according to manufacturer instructions, out of harm's way. If you have questions about proper handling of household hazardous waste, contact your County Recycling and HHW Coordinator, wastewater treatment plant or department of public works.

HHW MATERIALS

  • Aerosol Cans – Many products are delivered in aerosol cans. Aerosol cans are used to deliver cooking sprays, degreasing materials, lubricating materials, and even medications.  Aerosol cans often contain materials that are ignitable, corrosive, and toxic. When compacted, aerosol cans can also present an explosion hazard. Check with your local recycler to see if they accept empty aerosol cans without hazardous materials.  If they don’t, see the lists/directories at the top of this page for additional aerosol can collection options near you.

  • Antifreeze – Antifreeze is a mixture of water, coolant, and additives. It is used to protect engines and other equipment from overheating and corroding.  It also protects engines from freezing in low temperatures. If you maintain your personal vehicles, boats, or home solar collectors, you may have waste antifreeze.  Waste antifreeze when ingested can harm the kidneys, nervous system, lungs and heart. See the lists/directories at the top of this page for antifreeze collection options near you.
  • Batteries – Batteries are used in many products. They contain metals that may be toxic and acids that can burn. Lead acid batteries are found in cars. Dry cell batteries are commonly used in flashlights and toys. Rechargeable batteries are often found in power tools, cameras, and phones. Button batteries or lithium batteries are often found in hearing aids, watches, and other small electronic devices. See the US DOT advisory of battery transport and consider taping the ends of dry cell, rechargeable, and lithium batteries so they do not touch each other and potentially spark during transport. See the lists/directories at the top of this page for battery collection options near you.  If a convenient drop-off location is not available through those resources, the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation sponsors free collection and recycling of rechargeable batteries throughout the country in cooperation with retail partners.
  • Compressed Gas Cylinders – Compressed gas cylinders, like small and large propane canisters pose an explosion hazard and contain a flammable gas.  See the lists/directories at the top of this page for collection options for compressed gas cylinders that cannot be exchanged for recycling at the time of purchase of a replacement cylinder.  If a collection option is not available, some scrap metal recyclers or commercial gas cylinder or welding suppliers may be able to help identify local collection options.
  • Electronic Cigarettes (e-cigs or vapes) – E-cigs or vapes may have nicotine in them which is toxic and a lithium battery which may spark and cause a fire.  Where available, e-cigs and vapes should be taken to a collection so the toxic nicotine component can be incinerated.  In some cases, the lithium battery may be able to be recycled too, depending on the type of e-cig and vape.  See the lists above for drop off location options for these materials.   
  • Foam Food Containers and Packing Materials – Foam food containers or packing materials are made from polystyrene. Like plastic, they are not biodegradable. Where available recycling clean foam containers is encouraged.  See the Home for Foam map of foam recycling drop of programs to find recycling locations near you.
  • Medical Infectious Waste – Medical waste includes materials like unwanted needles and lancets, also called sharps. Where a collection is available, these items are generally disinfected prior to being recycled or disposal. To find a medical waste collection, please see the EGLE interactive map or contact your County Recycling and HHW Coordinator. Learn more about medical waste disposal at Michigan.gov/EGLEMedWaste
  • round, silver chamber labeled egle logo radioactiveSmoke Detectors - Some smoke detectors use a tiny radioactive source to detect smoke.  You will know if it does because it will have a radiation symbol printed on its label. The best way to get rid of a smoke detector with a radioactive source is to send it back to the manufacturer. Check the label for contact information or check this list published by the United States Postal Service. If the manufacturer does not have a take back program and the smoke detector HAS NOT been damaged, it is safe to dispose of it by ordinary municipal trash. If the smoke detector HAS been damaged, please contact EGLE Radioactive Materials Unit at RadioactiveMaterial@Michigan.gov so that we can help ensure that it is disposed of safely.