Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)

HHW Photo

What is Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)?

Many products commonly used every day to clean and repair our homes, maintain our vehicles, and take care of our lawns contain hazardous components – ingredients that are corrosive, toxic, flammable, reactive and/or physically or environmentally hazardous. If these products are not properly used, stored, and disposed of, they present a hazard to both our health and our environment.

Reading the label of household products is the best way to identify if it contains a hazardous ingredient. Look to see if it is marked with one of the following terms: 

Toxic: Poisonous or causes long-term illness
Reactive: Can explode when exposed to heat, water, or shock
Flammable: Ignites or burns easily
Corrosive: Eats through materials, such as acid
Others: Warning, Danger, Caution, Poison, Keep out of reach of children, Dispose of properly, Use with adequate ventilation.

Disposing of Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Responsibly

Household hazardous waste (HHW) must be disposed of properly to protect the environment. HHW placed in the trash contaminates landfills, causing soil and water pollution and expensive cleanup. HHW dumped on the ground contaminates ground and surface waters as the soil does not filter hazardous chemicals away. HHW poured in storm drains goes directly into our lakes and rivers. HHW should not be emptied into household drains as wastewater treatment plants and septic systems are not designed to process hazardous waste.

The Environmental Office hosts two Household Hazardous Waste Collections each year that are available to Lac qui Parle County residents. The spring collection is held at the County Highway Garage in Madison and the fall collection is held at the County Highway Shop just south of Dawson. 

Accepted ItemsUnaccepted Items
  • Paint (You can put your empty paint cans in your recycling if they have been rinsed free of paint residue. If you are unable to remove the residual paint, the empty paint cans can be disposed of in the trash with your regular household waste.)
  • Stain & Varnish
  • Wood Preservatives
  • Hobby Supplies
  • Weed Killer (with Fertilizer as well)
  • Bug Spray/ Insect Killer
  • Brake/ Transmission Fluid
  • Carburetor Cleaner/ Degreasers 
  • Thinners/ Solvents/ Flammables
  • Home and Garden Pesticides
  • Pool Chemicals
  • Drain Cleaner
  • Acids and Bases
  • Strong Cleaners/ Spot Removers
  • Aerosol Cans (empty/depressurized cans can be thrown away)
  • Rechargeable Batteries
  • Thermometers, Thermostats, Mercury Switches
  • Flammables
  • Out-of-County Waste
  • Business Waste
  • Unidentified Waste
  • Compressed Gas
  • Explosives and Ammunition (Sheriff's Office)
  • Radioactive Materials
  • Medical Waste
  • Prescription Drugs (Sheriff's Office)
  • Car Batteries (Can be returned to retailers)
  • Oil & Oil Filters (Can be recycled at local M-Tech and Cenex service stations)
  • Empty Containers (can be recycled if they are made of metal, glass, or plastic with numbers 1, 2, 4, or 5 inside of the recycling emblem. Otherwise, they can be thrown away)
  • Tires (Special Item Collection)
  • Electronics (Special Item Collection)
  • Appliances (Special Item Collection)
  • Fluorescent Bulbs (Special Item Collection)
  • Non-Hazardous Products

HHW Collection Events:

Spring 2023
May 24 (3:00 pm - 6:00 pm)
Madison County Highway Garage
(306 6th Ave South, Madison)

Fall 2023:
September 20 (3:00 pm - 6:00 pm)
Dawson County Highway Shop
(1792 295th Avenue, Dawson)

What CAN be thrown away or poured down the drain?

This is a great question that depends on what the chemical is. The label will usually advise as to how to discard any remaining material. 

As a general rule, if the container states “Danger” or “Warning”, it should be brought to the HHW collection and NOT poured down the drain. If the container states “Caution” or “Irritant”, it may still be considered HHW depending on the chemicals it contains. 

Some items, such as soap or detergents are most likely not considered HHW and can be disposed of down the drain with plenty of water. 

However, if you have a septic system, it’s best not to dispose of any chemicals down the drain. There are important bacteria present that break down the contents of the system and chemicals will damage their ability to do this.

If you are connected to the city’s sewer system, please keep in mind that the wastewater treatment plant can only neutralize acids and bases, anything chemical that is toxic (pesticides, etc.) does NOT get treated and is released into the groundwater as is. 

When in doubt, please bring the item to an HHW collection event or you may also drop off any items year-round at our Regional Facility. 

Please keep items in the original container for easier classification of chemical types, this also helps them to be able to offer the items for reuse at our Regional Facility. For more information, please click HERE.


Lac qui Parle County Household Hazardous Waste accepts any rechargeable batteries during our Spring and Fall HHW events. In addition, you may bring your rechargeable batteries to the Call2Recycle collection box located in the East entrance of the Lac qui Parle Courthouse in Madison during business hours. 

How to recycle single-use batteries (

Regional Facility Option

Lac qui Parle County residents may bring Hazardous Wastes and Usable Hazardous Products year-round to our Regional Facility:


1404 SW 22nd Street
Willmar, MN  56201

8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Monday thru Friday
Closed Saturdays

For more information about Recycling and Problem Material Disposal in our Southwest Minnesota Region, please call the Lac qui Parle County Environmental Office at (320) 598-3132.

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