Hazardous Household Waste

What is Household Hazardous Waste?

A material is considered hazardous if it’s:

  • Toxic – can injure or kill if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin
  • Flammable – may explode or ignite, even when cool
  • Corrosive – can cause permanent tissue damage through contact.
  • Irritant – can irritate or inflame the skin, eyes, nose, throat or lungs.

How many hazardous products are in YOUR HOME? Here are some of the most common:

  • Kitchen: oven cleaner, drain cleaner, floor-care products
  • Bathroom: toilet cleaner, polish remover, hair color, aerosol deodorant, some cosmetics, medications.
  • Laundry Room: detergent, chlorine bleach, spot remover, softener, spray starch
  • General Household: ammonia-based cleaner, furniture polish, mothballs, some air fresheners, insecticides, flea and tick powder, metal cleaner, household batteries
  • Workshop: paint, glue, varnish, paint thinner, turpentine.
  • Garage: Motor oil, gasoline, antifreeze, car batteries, lighter fluid, pool chemicals, herbicides.

Hazardous waste is a serious problem. But you can be part of the solution. Illinois residents are invited to take advantage of the Household Hazardous Waste drop off program at the Rock River Water Reclamation District.

Items such as paint, thinners, solvents, oil, insecticides, pesticides, herbicides, lead-acid (automotive) batteries, household batteries (“D” cells, 9-volt, etc.) Corrosives, oxidizers, and poisons are accepted.

Items which will not be accepted are: explosives, ammunition, radioactive materials, compressed gases, garbage, yard waste or recyclable items.

General Tips on Disposal of Household Hazardous Waste

  • Buy only the quantities you need.
  • Keep products in their original containers.
  • Store them according to label directions.
  • Avoid skin contact and vapors.
  • NEVER mix different products. Violent chemical reactions may occur.
  • If products exceed your needs, ask friends, neighbors, or charitable organizations if they want them.
  • Always dispose of these products in an approved manner, or take them to a household hazardous-waste collection.

How to deal with unused or unwanted paint and solvents

Household Hazardous Waste Collections

The Illinois EPA conducts a dozen or more household-hazardous-waste collections each spring and fall. Ogle and Lee Counties have also sponsored joint collections. The collections are free, and are held on Saturdays for greatest convenience. All wastes are handled, transported and disposed of properly by a licensed contractor.

The City of Rockford and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency co-sponsor a permanent site for the collection and proper disposal of household hazardous wastes. It is available to any resident of Illinois. The site is located:

Rock River Water Reclamation District
3333 Kishwaukee Street
Rockford, IL
Saturday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Sunday Noon – 4:00 p.m.

For more information concerning the IEPA/Rockford HHW Collection Site at the Rock River Water Reclamation District contact:

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Land
Solid Waste Management Section
P. O. Box 19276
Springfield, IL 62794-9276
(217) 785-8604

Alternatives to Everyday Household Products

Household Hazardous Waste IEPA brochure

Household Hazardous Waste pdf 

Household Guide to Automotive and Small Engine Product Disposal

The Household Hazardous Waste program is a joint cooperative effort between the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the Rock River Water Reclamation District and the City of Rockford and is open to Illinois residents at no charge.

It may seem easier to just throw these products away. But careless disposal of hazardous wastes is hard on our planet – and our health!