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Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facilities and Household Tips

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) provides programs around the state of Illinois to help citizens safely rid their homes of unwanted pesticides, paints, automotive fluids and other household items that could post a threat to our landfills, homes or environment if disposed in an unsafe manner.

To find out when a household hazardous waste collection will be coming to your area, and what hazardous products are accepted, call 217.785.8604 or visit the IEPA Web site.

What happens to your Household Hazardous waste?

The wastes accepted at an IEPA Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection are recycled and disposed in a number of environmentally safe ways including the following:

  • Recycling—Household batteries, mercury, emptied paint cans, motor oils, fluorescent bulbs, and some solvents are recycled into other useful products.
  • Fuel Blending—Paints, aerosols, motor oils, gasoline, kerosene, paint removers, thinners, and other flammable or combustible liquids are blended with virgin fuels and used as an alternative fuel source for industrial boilers and cement kilns.
  • Chemical Treatment—Many household cleaners, swimming pool chemicals, cyanides and acids have their toxins neutralized or removed by various chemical processes and are rendered harmless.
  • Incineration—Insecticides, herbicides, waxes, some cleaners and flammable materials not suited for fuel blending or recycling are destroyed by incineration at high temperatures.
  • Sanitary landfills—Asbestos and some household batteries, less than one percent of the wastes collected, will be placed in special waste landfills. Modern sanitary landfills are highly regulated, have polyliners, and are continuously monitored for leakage.

IEPA's Household Hazardous Waste Program is a widely accepted and acclaimed system that works with local governments to divert residential waste materials with hazardous characteristics out of local solid waste landfills. At every collection, in every part of the state, paint is the most common material delivered by Illinois citizens. Today's latex (water-based) paint has a very low level of toxicity. Disposing of it at a Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day is very expensive. Therefore, the Illinois EPA encourages people with unwanted latex paint to use other options. Below are several disposal alternatives to use when disposing of paint:

  • Keep painting. What better place to put that last pint of paint but right there on the wall where it blends in perfectly with all the other paint you just put there. Let the leftover paint dry then recycle or dispose of it.
  • Paint something else. It doesn't even have to need paint. Simply use an old piece of cardboard, scrap lumber, or the inside of your garage. Just about anywhere would probably work to use up that last bit of paint.
  • Use an absorbent.Absorb the paint with kitty litter, sawdust, shredded paper or just about anything that will absorb the moisture.
  • Give the paint to someone else. Look around and you may find somebody who needs to paint a small area. Some Schools or local theater groups may take small amounts of your paint for scenery, painting a classroom, or a class project.
  • Store it for later. Everyone has good intentions to use half-filled paint cans for "touch-ups" that never materialize. You can save paint for later safely by covering the opening with plastic wrap and making sure the lid fits securely so the paint does not leak. Then turn the paint can upside down. This creates a tight seal and keep the paint fresh to use again.

Driveway sealer

Sealers that contain petroleum distillates or coal tar are considered hazardous and should be disposed of as part of a hazardous waste collection program. Note that driveway sealers may be latex-based but may still contain petroleum distillates or coal tar. Therefore, unlike paints, latex-based driveway sealers may be hazardous. Read the label carefully. If the sealer does not contain petroleum distillates or coal tar it is considered non-hazardous and may be disposed of as a non-hazardous driveway sealer by drying it out and disposing of with your other refuse.

IEPA Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Long Term Collection Facilities

  • Naperville - 1971 Brookdale Road, Fire station #4 (Located on the corner of Rt. 59 and Brookdale Road). This facility accepts HHW from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays only. For additional information call 630.208.3841. Products accepted at this facility include: Aerosol products, batteries (household size), fluorescent lamps, lawn chemicals, pesticides, solvents, antifreeze, cleaning products, gasoline, motor oil, pool chemicals, paints, stains, finishes (no latex products), hobby/photographic chemicals.
  • Rockford - 3333 Kishwaukee, Rock River Reclamation District. This facility accepts HHW from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays; and from Noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. For directions and additional information call 815.967.6737.

Note: Both facilities listed above are offered to all county residents. Only residential items will be accepted. Business, institutional, industrial or agricultural waste is not accepted. In addition the following items are not accepted: Ammunition, explosives, fireworks, gunpowder, biological or medical wastes, fire extinguishers, propane tanks or smoke detectors.

For future Household Hazardous Waste Events go to www.epa.state.il.us.

Partners for Waste Paint Solutions

In 995, the IEPA launched an innovative program called Partners for Waste Paint Solutions. Participating retailers accept leftover paint to help protect the environment. Some stores accept only latex (water-based) paint. Others accept both latex and oil based paints. Retailers reserve the right to limit quantities of leftover paint they will accept. Some may charge a small fee for this service. Other may accept paint returns only during certain hours or on certain days.

For the location of a Partners of Waste Paint solutions member nearest you, call 217.785.8604. Or check the IEPA Web site at http://www.epa.state.il.us.