Did you know that your house may be "home" to hazardous waste? A typical American home contains 25 to 50 pounds of hazardous household waste. Unwanted containers of cleaners, paints, chemicals, and pesticides accumulate in almost every basement, under sinks, and in garages. Improper or careless use, storage, or disposal of these items can pose a serious threat to your family's health and our environment.

Hazardous Household Products & Human Health
Many products used every day contain dangerous chemicals or compounds. If handled and disposed of properly, many of these products can be used with relative safety. Unfortunately, most people are unaware of the dangers of products like paints and solvents, oven cleaners, drain openers, bug killers, pool chemicals, or automotive fluids.

A hazardous product may have from one to all four of the following characteristics:
Ignitable - Safety Warning
Burns readily or has a low flash point.
Reactive - Safety Warning
May explode or emit poisonous gas.
Corrosive - Safety Warning
Corrodes (burns) skin or other surfaces.
Toxic - Safety Warning
Harmful to humans, plants, or animals.

Warnings on product labels indicate the item's relative threat to human health:

  • Caution 
  •  Warning 
  •  Poison 
  •  Danger

Hazardous Household Products & the Environment

Toxic liquids, solids, and fumes can threaten the environment, as well as human health: small amounts of paint, solvents, or other chemicals can pollute thousands of gallons of groundwater; some aerosol products release ozone depleting compounds into the atmosphere; toxic fumes can cause serious indoor air pollution.

Humanity's future depends upon a healthy environment. Every effort should be made to reduce or eliminate sources of environmental pollution. Responsible use and disposal of hazardous household products is a positive step toward ensuring a clean environment.

Minimizing the risks of hazardous products is easy!

There are simple things that everyone can do to avoid or minimize the risks of hazardous household products:

  • Buy only what you need. Buying large quantities of a hazardous substance is not a bargain! Waste will eventually require disposal, which will cost you or your community money
  • Carefully read and follow product instructions on use, storage, and disposal.
  • Use up (instead of throwing out) usable products.
  • Keep unused products in original containers. Store away from children, pets, and heat sources.
  • Reduce your use of hazardous products around the house. Many excellent nontoxic and less-toxic alternatives exist, some of which are mentioned in this publication.
  • Recycle! Antifreeze, motor oil, some batteries and paint are recyclable in many communities and can be kept out of the waste stream by delivering to an appropriate recycling program.
  • Never mix hazardous products together!

Additional Resources

Proper Use and Disposal (PDF)Description of the proper use and disposal of household hazardous waste.
Non-Toxic Alternatives (PDF)Non-toxic alternatives to household hazardous waste.
Cleaner Choices Guide (PDF)A guide to cleaner, safer choices for cleaning products.

Dispose of Hazardous Household Waste (HHW) Properly

Residents in Clinton County have access to periodic HHW collection events conducted by Clinton County Department of Waste Management. See the list of current events, or contact the Department of Waste Management at 989-224-5186, or email Waste Management Conservation for information on when and where the next collection will take place.

The Ingham County Health Department, Bureau of Environmental Health and the Ionia County Resource Recovery Department both act as a State of Michigan Clean Sweep Site. Agricultural chemicals such as pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and fertilizers can be safely disposed of free of charge through this program. Contact Ingham County at 517-887-4512 or Ionia County at 616-527-8219, to schedule an appointment.