Acceptable Materials

The Washtenaw County Home Toxics Center provides waste diversion to residents in compliance with State of Michigan legislation. To keep our program open and able to meet the needs of Washtenaw County residents, wastes from businesses, government entities, and other organizations are not accepted. If you are looking to dispose of waste from your business, government entity, or organization, please call us at 734-222-3950 for referrals.

The following items are accepted at the Washtenaw County Home Toxics Center for disposal. Please review this list carefully as well as all packaging instructions for safe handling and transportation of hazardous materials.

Acceptable Items

  • Acids and Bases
  • Adhesive, Glue (solvent-based)
  • Aerosols (excluding refrigerants, see unacceptable items below)
  • Automotive Fluids
    • Antifreeze
    • Brake or power steering fluid
    • Diesel fuel
    • Gasoline
    • Motor oil
    • Transmission fluid
    • Windshield washer fluid
  • Ballasts (must be removed from fixture)
    • Some ballasts contain a highly toxic type of chemical called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). We cannot accept leaking/ruptured ballasts due to safety concerns. Please call ERG Environmental Services in Livonia at 734-437-9650 if your ballast is leaking or rupturing.
  • Batteries: Automotive and Household - Battery packaging instructions
    • Automotive (Lead Acid) Batteries:  Please keep separate from household batteries.
    • Household Batteries: All types are accepted. Remove batteries from packaging. Please follow the instructions below to prevent fires and assist our staff in sorting your batteries for recycling: 
      1. Remove all batteries from any original boxes, cartons, or other packaging. 

      2. Separate lithium batteries (cell phone, laptop, camera, watches, hearing aids, and AA/AAA batteries marked "lithium") and tape both terminal ends of the battery to prevent fires. 

      3. Tape the terminals of any power tool batteries and any other battery 9 volts or larger to prevent fires. 

      4. Place taped lithium batteries in a separate clear plastic bag and all other household batteries in another clear plastic bag. 

  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  • Compressed Gases
    • Butane tanks
    • Helium tanks
    • Propane tanks
    • MAPP gas
  • Cooking Oil (canola, olive, peanut, vegetable, etc. are accepted. The oil must be liquid and pourable. If bringing during cold weather, do not store oil outside.)
  • Fabric Dye
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Flammables
    • Gasoline/motor oil mix
    • Kerosene
    • Starting fluids
  • Flares
  • Fluorescent Light Tubes and Bulbs 
    • CFLs, U-shaped tubes and tubes up to four feet in length are accepted. Tubes should be secured in your vehicle to minimize their movement and possible breakage. Wrap in a blanket or bundle them with rubber bands or string. Tubes should not be taped together!
    • Fluorescent lights packaging instructions
  • Handheld Electronics with built-in batteries (if battery is removable, remove battery and bring with electronic item. Only small electronics accepted, please call if unsure)
    • Cell phones, tablets, handheld gaming devices, mp3 players, rechargeable electronics
  • Home Cleaning Products (polishes, bleach, cleaners)
  • Home Repair Products (glues, caulking)
  • Inhalers
  • Liquid Asphalt and Roofing Tar
  • Mercury and Mercury-Containing Devices (like thermometers and thermostats)
  • Mothballs (place in a clear plastic bag)
  • Nail Polish and Remover
  • Paints: Oil and Latex
    • Latex Paint: Only paint that is still liquid is accepted. If the cans are empty or the paint is totally dried out, put cans in the trash with the lid off. To dry latex paint at home so you can put it in the trash, add materials like clay-based cat litter to the paint to speed up the drying process.
    • Oil Paint: Paint or primer with or without lead. Accepted liquid or dry, as well as rags and other items contaminated with oil paint.
    • Paints and stains packaging instructions
  • Paint Thinners, Removers, Strippers, Solvents, Stains and Varnishes
  • Pesticides
    • Herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, DDT, Chlordane, etc. are accepted. 
    • Any Michigan resident or business can bring these items to us as part of the Clean Sweep Program through the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).
  • Photography Chemicals
  • Pool Chemicals
  • Polishes and Cleaners
  • Propane Tanks
  • Rat and Rodent Poison
  • Rust Remover
  • Sharps, Syringes, and Needles
  • Smoke Detectors

Unacceptable Items

These items cannot be brought to the Washtenaw County Home Toxics program for disposal. 

Due to regulations, the Home Toxics Center cannot accept waste generated by businesses, government entities, and organizations (including public and private schools and places of worship). We also do not accept waste from out-of-county residents, except pesticides. Contact us for assistance in finding an alternative disposal method if necessary.

  • Asbestos
  • Batteries in a serial configuration (*see below for more information)
  • Business Waste
  • Compost / Yard Waste (check local government for opportunities near you)
  • Empty Containers
  • Electronic Waste
  • Explosives, Ammunition, and Fireworks (call our hotline at (734) 222-3950 for a referral)
  • Fertilizer and plant food without herbicide, fungicide, or pesticide 
  • Foam Packaging and Containers (Styrofoam - Accepted at the Recycle Ann Arbor Drop-Off Station and Recovery Yard)
  • Fluorescent tube bulbs longer than 4 feet in length  (Accepted at the Recycle Ann Arbor Drop-Off Station and the Chelsea Transfer Station)
  • Freon Appliances (PDF) (Accepted at the Recycle Ann Arbor Drop-Off Station and Recovery Yard, and Ypsilanti Township Compost Site, click here for more appliance disposal information)
  • Froth-Pak Insulation (Do-it-yourself home foam sealants/insulations/adhesive cylinders with spray nozzles )
  • Incandescent, Halogen, and LED Light Bulbs (safe to put in household trash)
  • Medical Waste such as blood, gauze, linen, etc. 
  • Medication and Pharmaceuticals (Visit to find local drop-off locations)
  • Laboratory Chemicals (ERG)
  • Oxygen and CO2 Tanks (ERG)
  • Radioactive Materials (Contact EGLE for assistance)
  • Recyclables like cardboard, plastics, glass, etc.
  • Refrigerants
  • Tires (Accepted at the Recycle Ann Arbor Drop-Off Station and Recovery Yard, and select Washtenaw County Clean-Up Day Events)
  • Trash

*Batteries in a serial configuration are connected in a way that each contributes to the overall voltage of batteries (see picture below). These voltages are too high for our staff to handle safely.

Picture of batteries in a serial configuration

Safety Tips

  • Bring materials in their original containers. If this isn’t possible, label the container if you know what the material or chemical is.
  • Use containers that have secure screw tops (five gallon pails are okay). Do not use containers with press tops such as cottage cheese containers.
  • Do not bring items in glass bottles or jarsunless it is the original container.
  • Keep automotive fluids like motor oil and anti-freeze separate. Do not put them in the same container. If you are filling a container that is one gallon or larger, leave at least two inches air space at the top.
  • Oil - Motor and all cooking oils - canola, olive, peanut, vegetable, etc.  Please bring in containers no larger than 6 gallons.  Multiple containers are acceptable.
  • Place all cans and bottles in a rigid box (cardboard or plastic tote). If a container is leaking, place it in a plastic bag and then put the bag in a box.

The following items pose a safety and health risk to our staff, but can be accepted if you make some changes to your materials or check in with us before arriving onsite.

  • Containers over 6 gallons 
    • These containers are large and unwieldy for staff to lift, carry, and empty. This greatly increases risk of hazardous spills when our staff needs to pour off (“bulk”) these liquids into larger drums.
    • If you have a larger container, transfer your materials into smaller containers with screw top lids (no glass). Lidded 5-gallon pails are okay due to their tight sealing lids.
  • Containers 1 gallon or larger
    • You must leave 2 inches of space for motor oil, antifreeze, gasoline, or other fuels at the top of a 1 gallon or larger container. This reduces spill risks and makes it easier for our staff to pour off (“bulk”) into larger drums without splashing.
  • Improperly packaged needles and sharps
    • Sharps should be packaged in a specialized medical sharps container. Both 1 and 5 qt containers are available for you to use at our facility and can be purchased at pharmacies. Due to safety concerns, our staff cannot help you move sharps from an unsafe container.
    • A cleaned screw-top hard plastic laundry detergent container also works as an alternative container. Detergent containers must have the lid securely screwed on and be labeled with “SHARPS” in permanent marker. Only these containers have plastic thick enough to prevent puncture. For the safety of staff, all other forms of packaging will be refused for acceptance until properly contained.