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Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)

Mercury-containing household hazardous waste being collected
Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)

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:

Hazardous Waste 101

Check out this EGLE video to learn what is a hazardous waste under Michigan's environmental regulations
Learn what is a hazardous waste under Michigan’s environmental laws, how it has to be handled,  and what laws apply to hazardous waste generated by businesses in Michigan.  Michigan has very strict regulation for hazardous waste generators, transporters, and treatment, storage, and disposal facilities to ensure hazardous waste is handled safety in a manner that protects us and our environment.

Contact

Christine Grossman
GrossmanC@Michigan.gov
517-285-5637






For Environmental Professionals

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

Counties/Municipalities Share Your Recycling Data to Help Expand Recycling

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

  • Acids/Bases - Materials like muriatic acid, battery acid, trisodium phosphate and swimming pool chemicals can readily burn skin. See the lists/directories at the top of this page for acid/base collection options near you.
  • Adhesives - Solvent-based adhesives can be toxic and ignitable.  Examples of solvent-based adhesives include instant super glue, shoe glue, flooring and roofing adhesive. See the lists/directories at the top of this page for adhesive collection options near you.
  • 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.
  • Ammunition/Fireworks - Ammunition, fireworks, and flares 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.  See the lists/directories at the top of this page for explosive device 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.
  • BatteriesBatteries can contain metals that are toxic, acids that cause chemical burns, and some contain materials that burn quickly and violently when damaged. As such, unwanted batteries and unwanted equipment containing batteries should be handled carefully and promptly recycled where possible. 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 and 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. 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. 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. Dry cell alkaline batteries are commonly used in portable equipment like flashlights and toys. To find battery recycling locations, see the lists/directories at the top of this page or contact your local electronic device retailer. If a convenient drop-off location is not available locally, participate in the free call2recycle mail back program for lithium ion rechargeable batteries. Be sure to package batteries for transport in a way that prevents short circuiting that can cause sparking and start a fire. This can be done by packing each battery in a fully-enclosed inner packaging made of non-conductive materials like a plastic bag or separating the batteries from each other and other conductive material in the same package and packing it to prevent damage and shifting while in transport. You can also tape the ends of dry cell, rechargeable, and lithium ion batteries to prevent sparking. For more information, see the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) April 3, 2009, advisory memo to battery recyclers. For a summary of the U.S. DOT regulations related to battery recycling see the Portable Rechargeable Battery Association's webpage on Federal, State, & International Regulations and Standards
    NEW!!! Check out these short videos on preparing batteries for recycling:
    Terminals to tape:  Cell phone and computer
    Applying tape to batteries:  AA, cell phone, computer, and button.
     
  • Beauty Aids - Materials like hair spray, nail polish remover, and perfume often contain petrochemicals in them and can be ignitable. See the lists/directories at the top of this page for options to recycling beauty aids.
  • Cleansers- Cleansers often have a very high or very low pH and can burn the skin. See the lists/directories at the top of this page for collection options for corrosive materials.
  • 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.   
  • Electronic Waste (e-waste) - 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, mercury, and fire retardants.  See the lists/directories at the top of this page for options to recycle e-waste.  To find a registered manufacturer collection program website, see the EGLE Registered Electronic Waste Take Back Program List and learn more about the EGLE's e-waste program at Michigan.gov/EGLEeWaste.
  • 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.
  • Gasoline and Other Solvents- 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.  See the lists/directories at the top of this page for options to recycle gasoline and solvents.
  • Mercury - For decades mercury has received attention as a serious pollutant because it is toxic and it bioaccumulates in living organisms. Mercury can be found in unwanted thermostats and thermometer. See the lists/directories at the top of this page for options to recycle elemental mercury.
  • Paints and Stains - Oil-based paint and stains often contain toxic solvents and pigments. Latex paint sometimes contains toxic pigments.  See the lists/directories at the top of this page for options to recycle paints and stains. For additional options for paint recycling, search PaintCare Inc. drop off sites. 
  • Pesticides - Pesticides are designed to be toxic, so they should be managed carefully and taken to a collection that will provide for them to be incinerated, to destroy the chemicals in the pesticides. Be sure to follow the label instructions at all times as required by law. See the lists/directories at the top of this page for options to have unwanted pesticides incinerated.
  • 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 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.
  • Tires - Scrap tires pose a fire risk and a human health risk as mosquito breeding grounds. Learn more about scrap tire handling, disposal and recycling requirements, see Michigan.gov/ScrapTires.  See the EGLE list of registered scrap tire collection sites to find a location that can take your unwanted tires.