Information for getting rid of hazardous waste


The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Director Lisa Bonnett reminds all Illinois residents about safe disposal of various wastes.

Through household hazardous waste collections, Illinois residents are given the opportunity to safely dispose of unused or leftover household products commonly found in homes, basements and garages.

In Chicago, the facility is on Goose Island, 1150 North Branch. On the first Saturday of every month, their hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. During the week, hours on Tuesdays are 7 a.m. to  Noon and on  Thursday., 2 to 7 p.m.

Welcomed for disposal are oil-based paints, thinners, chemical cleaners, unwanted pharmaceuticals, mercury and mercury-containing items, antifreeze, motor oil, gasoline, kerosene, weed killers, insecticides, pesticides, adhesives, hobby chemicals, household batteries and similar products. See below for latex paint disposal.

Fluorescent and other high-intensity discharge lamps may also be brought to the collections. The public is encouraged to find alternative uses for latex paint since it is not considered hazardous.

Items not accepted include explosives, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, medical waste, sharps, controlled substances, agricultural chemicals and all business wastes. Propane tanks and lead acid auto batteries cannot be accepted, but should be taken to local recyclers.

These are suggestions for disposal of latex paint:

  • Keep painting: Save leftover paint for a new project or paint scrap lumber or cardboard. Let the empty paint can dry, then throw it away.
  • Dry it up: Add kitty litter, shredded paper or sawdust to absorb the remaining paint in the can, or pour the paint into a bag. After it dries, throw the bag or absorbant material and paint can away.
  • Donate it: Ask friends and neighbors if they need paint for a small project. Local schools or theater groups sometimes look for free paint for sets and art projects.
  • Store it: Save the leftover paint for touch-ups in the future. To prevent the paint from drying out, wrap the can’s lid with plastic wrap, making sure the lid fits on securely and doesn’t leak.

Since the creation of the household hazardous waste collection program in 1989, nearly 431,000 Illinois households have been served. More than 84,500 fifty-five gallon drums of toxic materials have been collected.