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Household hazardous waste

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Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

Household hazardous waste

Household hazardous waste 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. To find out if a product you own is considered hazardous waste when discarded, check the label for words such as 'warning,' 'caution,' 'flammable,' 'toxic,' 'poison,' 'corrosive,' 'oxidizer,' etc. 

If you have leftover or unwanted household materials that are hazardous, it is best to routinely take them to a local collection if one is available. Never pour household hazardous waste 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.

Learn more about what is considered household hazardous waste by continuing further down this page, or, if you already know your product is hazardous and want to know what to do with it:

Find disposal & drop-off locations near you

Resources for professionals (VSQGs)

What's considered household hazardous waste?

  • MMD HHW Batteries Icon

    Alkaline batteries

    Dry cell alkaline batteries are commonly used in portable equipment like flashlights and toys. 

    Lead acid battery

    Lead acid batteries

    Lead acid batteries are found in most vehicles powered by gasoline or diesel fuel.

    Michigan law prohibits lead acid batteries from being disposed in a landfill (factsheet: landfill prohibited materials)

    Michigan law also requires retailers and auto repair shops that sell batteries to provide recycling options for their customers. This makes it easy to recycle lead acid batteries as you can take them to the store where you purchase the replacement battery.

    MMD HHW Batteries Icon

    Lithium ion batteries

    Lithium ion batteries are rechargeable and come in many different shapes and sizes. They are becoming more and more popular because they are smaller, more powerful, and last longer than dry cell alkaline batteries. Lithium ion batteries are found in all kinds of products like electric vehicles, cell phones, laptops, tablets, cordless power tools, and other handheld rechargeable gadgets. Some are even button-sized and found in small electronic devices like vapes, hearing aids, and watches.

    If damaged, lithium ion batteries experience thermal runaway. Thermal runaway is a chain reaction within a battery cell that can be very difficult to stop once it has started. Batteries experiencing thermal runaway burn quickly and violently, reaching temperatures as high as 900°F. This can easily cause surrounding materials to burn, whether it happens at your home, in the garbage truck, at the landfill, or a material recycling facility.

    For everyone's safety, rechargeable lithium ion batteries should only be charged with the proper charger and recycled promptly to prevent damage and thermal runaway. 

    icon e Cigarette or vape

    Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) and vaping devices

    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.

    If a local collection isn't immediately available, contact your local law enforcement to find out if they're collecting them during the next national Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Drug Take Back Day.

    MMD HHW Electronic Waste Icon

    Electronic waste (eWaste)

    Electronics, such as computers, computer monitors, televisions, laptops, VCRs, cell phones, printers, computer mice, remote controls, telephones, video games, fax machines, and printers, often contain toxic materials such as lead, cadmium, chromium, and fire retardants.


     Can't find a local collection? There may be a location near you that participates in the call2recycle mail back program for batteries (single-use [alkaline], rechargeable [lithium ion], ebike, cellphones).

    Simply find a location that participates in the call2recycle program, visit the location to obtain the call2recycle box, package your batteries (safely!), and ship back to the call2recycle program!

  • MMD HHW Aerosol Can Icon

    Aerosol cans

    Aerosol cans are used to deliver hairspray, 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.

    perfume and lotion bottle icons to represent beauty aids

    Beauty products

    Such as cosmetics, nail polish remover, perfume, cologne, and hairspray. These products often contain petrochemicals in them and can be ignitable (it could catch fire).

  • MMD HHW Acids/Bases Icon

    Acids and bases

    Acids and bases include products like muriatic acid, battery acid, trisodium phosphate and swimming pool chemicals. These chemicals are corrosive and can readily burn skin.

    MMD HHW Cleansers Icons

    Cleaning products

    Certain cleaning products or cleansers often have a very high or very low pH and can burn the skin.

    MMD HHW Pesticides Icon


    Pesticides including bug repellant and sprays, are designed to be toxic. They should be handled as specified in the product instructions and taken to a collection that will provide for them to be incinerated and destroyed.

  • MMD HHW Antifreeze Icon


    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.

    When ingested, antifreeze can harm the kidneys, nervous system, lungs, and heart. 

    MMD HHW Compressed Gas Cylinders Icons

    Propane and other 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 local collection option is not available, contact a scrap metal recyclers or commercial gas cylinder or welding suppliers for help in identifying options.

    jerry can and droplet icon to represent solvents

    Gasoline and other fuels

    Gasoline and other fuels are ignitable and toxic. So are most solvents. Breathing even small amounts of vapors can cause nose and throat irritation, breathing difficulties, headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and confusion. 

    MMD HHW Tires Icon


    Scrap tires pose a fire risk and a human health risk as mosquito breeding grounds.

    If you can't find a local collection, contact a nearby registered scrap tire collection site for help.

    MMD HHW Used Oil / Oil Filters Icon

    Used motor oil and filters

    Oil picks up small particles of metal and dirt as it lubricates a car engine which can make it toxic.

    If a local collection isn’t immediately available, ask if your local auto parts store offers a collection option for customers. 

  • MMD HHW Medical Infectious Waste Icon

    Medical waste (needles)

    Medical waste includes items like unwanted needles and lancets (also called sharps).  Medical waste is infectious and can cause disease.  Medical waste, when collected, is sanitized prior to being recycled or disposed.  This helps protect waste and sanitary sewer workers, janitors, housekeepers, and children from accidentally getting poked and getting sick. 

    If a local collection is not available, search the interactive Household Drug Take Back map. Locations with a yellow star on the map show sharps collection locations. To quickly learn how to use the map features, watch the video tutorial for the take back map.

    MMD HHW Medications Images

    Medications and supplements

    Medications, drugs, pharmaceuticals, prescription and non-prescription alike, are all biologically active chemical formulations. When not secured and taken as directed, they can be toxic and addictive. Medications should be stored in their original containers in a secure manner, so they are not easy to access. When they are no longer needed, they should be disposed through a household take back program so the chemical formulations are destroyed via incineration.

    Search the interactive Household Drug Take Back map to locate controlled substance, solid medication, and liquid medication takeback options across Michigan. To quickly learn how to use the map features, watch the video tutorial for the take back map.

    Is my medication a controlled substance?

    If a collection is not immediately available, ask if local law enforcement will be participating in the next national Drug Enforcement Administrator (DEA) Drug Take Back Day. If no options are available, follow the instructions on the Save a Life Card or our EGLE Classroom Drug Disposal video

  • icon of a glue container to represent adhesives

    Glue and other adhesives

    Items like super glue, shoe glue, and adhesives for flooring and roofing are generally solvent-based. They can be toxic and ignitable (it could catch fire).

    Fireworks and ammunition

    Fireworks and ammunition

    Fireworks, flares, and ammunition that are no longer needed or may be compromised due to age, moisture impact of or other factors may remain explosive and should be handled through a household hazardous waste collection or hazardous waste vendor when disposed.

    MMD HHW Light Bulbs Icon


    Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), traditional fluorescent bulbs, green tip fluorescent bulbs, light emitting diode bulbs, and high intensity discharge lamps are a popular way to reduce energy use, but may include toxic materials like mercury, lead, and arsenic.

    For information about how to respond to a mercury spill in your home, visit the MDHHS Mercury spills in homes webpage. For more information on Mercury, visit

    MMD HHW Mercury Icon

    Thermometers and thermostats (mercury)

    Some thermostats and thermometers contain mercury.

    Mercury has received attention for decades as a serious pollutant because it is toxic and it bioaccumulates, or builds up, in living organisms.

    For information about how to respond to a mercury spill in your home, visit the MDHHS Mercury spills in homes webpage. For more information on Mercury, visit

    MMD HHW Paint and Stains Icons

    Paints and stains

    Oil-based paint and stains often contain toxic solvents and pigments, including hobby-based oil paints. Latex paint sometimes contains toxic pigments. Stains for woodworking and decks often contain toxic solvents.

    MMD HHW Smoke Detectors Icons

    Smoke 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 the USPS guidance on disposing of smoke detectors properly.

    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 so that we can help ensure that it is disposed of safely.

Household hazardous waste 101

Watch this video to learn what is considered household hazardous waste, as well as regular hazardous waste under Michigan's environmental regulations.

Household hazardous waste 101 Video

Reduce hazardous waste in your home

  • Check the label before you buy. Know which products will be considered a household hazardous waste if not used up properly. 
  • Buy only what you need - some products cost more to disposal than they do to purchase.
  • Always store hazardous products safely and use only as the manufacturer instructs.

Health effects

For health-related questions, contact the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Toxics Hotline at 800-648-6942 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. If someone swallows something that may be toxic, contact the Michigan Poison Center at 800-222-1222 or call 911 immediately.