CCDES is a member of the Illinois Recycling Contamination Task Force, a group that addresses pressing recycling issues throughout the state. To answer specific recycling questions, the task force has launched the Dirty Dozen Campaign.

If you have painted your house, refinished your floors, or switched your lightbulbs from CFLs to LEDs, chances are you had some leftover products containing dangerous ingredients. Paints, cleaners, batteries, and pesticides are among the common household materials that the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) classifies as household hazardous waste (HHW), household products that can catch fire, react, or explode under certain circumstances, or that are corrosive or toxic.”

Many types of household hazardous waste are not recyclable; for those products, the focus is on keeping hazardous materials out of the landfills and water supply. The proper disposal of these products is essential for the health and well-being of both humans and the environment.

1. Why should I care about household hazardous waste?

First, it is a Federal law. The 1976 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) put requirements in place for storage, handling, and disposal of hazardous waste. If you dispose of it improperly (for example, pour it down the drain), you are likely breaking Federal law.

Second, household hazardous waste often contains toxic chemicals like cadmium, lead and mercury. These chemicals can present a health hazard to people and harm animals and the environment.

2. How do I identify household hazardous waste?

Unfortunately, household hazardous waste is rarely labeled as such. Some words to look for on the container include:


  • Caution
  • Danger
  • Poison
  • Warning


  • Corrosive
  • Flammable
  • Reactive
  • Toxic

If you see any of these words on the label, you are probably dealing with a hazardous material. Store the product away from children and pets. Dispose of any remaining product through proper methods (explained below).

3. Where do I find household hazardous waste?

Hazardous household products are most often found in the garage, in the form of automotive fluids, paint, or pesticides. They are also common in the kitchen (cleaning supplies, fire extinguishers), bathroom (medications, hypodermic needles), and living areas (batteries, electronics, thermostats).

4. Who accepts household hazardous waste for disposal?

In Illinois

Four permanent Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) facilities are sponsored by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and are available to all Illinois residents. The IEPA web page includes[DS(aS1]  information on their collection programs. For questions about the IEPA’s one-day or long-term collections, please call the Waste Reduction Unit at (217) 524-3300.

Below are facilities available for disposal of household hazardous waste. Please call ahead or check their website to determine availability and open hours and for a complete list of acceptable and unacceptable materials.  Business, institutional or school waste is not accepted at these facilities. 

Chicago’s Household Chemicals & Computer Recycling Facility
1150 N North Branch Street
Tuesdays: 7:00 am to 12:00 pm
Thursdays: 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm
1st Saturday of the month: 8:00 am to 3:00 pm

Naperville Household Hazardous Waste Facility
156 Fort Hill Drive
9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday
(630) 420-4190

Rockford Rock River Reclamation District
3333 Kishwaukee
8:00 am – 4:00 pm Sat
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm Sun
(815) 387-7400

Solid Waste Agency of Lake County
By appointment only on the second Saturday or the fourth Monday of each month
1311 N. Estes Street, Gurnee
(847) 336-9340

Home Collection Programs exist in some communities as part of their municipal waste contract. Reach out to your local recycling coordinator or waste hauler to inquire.

5. What happens to household hazardous waste?

Some forms of household hazardous waste are recyclable, such as gasoline, motor oil, antifreeze, as well as] fluorescent light bulbs and mercury thermostats. These recycling processes are very specialized and are not available through a typical residential recycling program.

Household hazardous waste that is not recycled or reused is typically put in a special landfill or incinerated through a process that helps limit the release of pollutants to the air. However, keep in mind that the best way to reduce pollution is to reduce the use of products that are considered household hazardous waste.

Take the time to dispose of household hazardous waste properly. It will protect your family and property from contamination and improve the local environment.