Chemical Recycling and Disposal


Household Chemical Drop Off

Household Chemical Dropoff
What can I bring?
Is there a fee?
Less Toxic Alternatives
The Waste Exchange

Clean up. Green up. Free up! Thank you for your interest in doing the right thing with your waste chemicals. If throwing them out in your garbage or pouring them down the drain didn’t feel like the thing to do, you were right. A surprisingly small amount of some common household chemicals can pollute a lot of soil, air, and water. The DPW’s hazardous waste programs are here to make “the right thing” as safe and convenient as possible.

When: 2021 Upcoming Drop-off Events

Household chemical drop-off is offered on event days by appointment only. We require appointments for everyone’s convenience and safety. Without appointments, we find that too many people arrive at once. People get frustrated waiting and, with cars loaded with everything from lighter fluid to pesticides, a traffic jam could be dangerous – even blocking the way for emergency vehicles in the case of a spill or fire.

We generally hold three events each year, one in the spring, one in the summer, and one in the fall. To schedule an appointment use the following buttons below for our 2021 dates.

Schedule May 22, 2021 Appointment

Saturday July 31, 2021 event is fully booked.

Please make an appointment for the event in September
for our 2022 Chemical Drop-off dates, sign up for our monthly e-newsletter here.

Schedule July 31, 2021 Appointment

Schedule Sept. 25, 2021 Appointment

What can I bring?

The simpler question for us to answer is, “What can’t I bring?” There are only two kinds of chemicals we will NOT take through the Household Chemical Drop-off program:

1. NO explosives and ammunition. Call the State Police at (231) 347-8101 for information on disposing of these.

2. NO radioactive materials. Radioactive materials are found in small quantities in some brands of a few household items (smoke detectors, clocks, lantern wicks, dishes). At present, there is no proper method for disposing of radioactive materials. You may be able to return these items to the manufacturer. If that isn’t possible, please store them until a proper disposal method becomes available.

Some common examples of materials people bring to drop-off days include:

  • Pesticides, including weed killers
  • Cleaners and polishes
  • Aerosols
  • Oil paints, other finishes, and their thinners
  • Flammables, for example fuels and solvents
  • Adhesives, sealers, and tar

Latex Paints are Less Hazardous: Latex paint is less toxic than other paints and most of it can safely be disposed of through simpler means than hazardous materials. We accept latex paint for recycling April 1st-November 1st and charge $2 per gallon can. See our paint disposal page for more information.

Note: Motor oil, antifreeze, electronics, and batteries are all hazardous. For your convenience, they are collected for recycling at the Emmet County Drop-Off Center during their regular hours of 8-4 weekdays, and 8-3 Saturdays. Visit our Recycling Guide page for more information.

For search purposes, examples of chemicals accepted include: acids, acetone, adhesives, aerosols, ammonia, ant traps, arsenic, art supplies, automotive products, banned chemicals, bases, bleach, brake fluid, car wax, cleaners, corrosives, contaminated oil, cyanide,  deck stain, dyes, epoxy, fire extinguishers, flammables, foggers, formaldehyde, fuels, fungicides, furniture stripper, gasoline, herbicides, Kilz, lead paints, lighter fluid, mercury, moth balls, mysteries, nail polish remover, oil-based paints, oxidizers, paint stripper, pesticides, photographic chemicals, polishes, polyurethane, pool chemicals, reactives, Roundup, sealers, shellac, solvents, turpentine, unidentified materials, varnish, wood preservative


Is there a fee?

There is no charge to Emmet County households to use Household Chemicals Drop-off Days. The program is covered by what Emmet County residents pay to dispose of their garbage, whether through a private waste hauler or at the Emmet County Transfer Station.

Residents of other counties and qualifying businesses may use the service, however, we charge $2 per pound to cover our costs. This applies to civic and religious organizations and owners of rental housing too. We recommend that residents of other counties use their county’s household hazardous waste program first:

  • Charlevoix County: call 231-547-7221
  • Cheboygan County: call 231-627-7051

Latex Paints are Less Hazardous: Latex paint is less toxic than other paints and most of it can safely be disposed of through simpler means than hazardous materials. We accept latex paint for recycling April 1st-November 1st and charge $2 per gallon can. See our paint disposal page for more information.


Less Toxic Alternatives

Emmet County is committed to handling collected materials in the most environmentally sound manner possible. However, even the best available options are extremely expensive and far from ideal.

The best solution to the problem of disposing of hazardous waste is to avoid buying toxic products. If you must buy toxic chemicals, try to buy just the amount you need and use it up.

There are also many less toxic alternatives to commonly used chemicals. If you would like more information search the internet or contact a library or bookstore for one of the many books containing suggestions.

Here are a couple of books we recommend:

  • Clean House, Clean Planet: Clean Your House for Pennies a Day The Safe, Nontoxic Way by Karen Logan, Pocket Books
  • Common-Sense Pest Control: Least-toxic solutions for your home, garden, pets, and community by Olkowsi, Daar and Olkowski, Taunton Press(available at public libraries in Emmet County)



Business Chemical Drop Off

Hazardous Waste Doesn’t Have To Be A BIG DEAL for small business.
Collection of Mercury and Pesticides is funded by grants from the State of Michigan. For additional information in the proper disposal of these items, please refer to the Clean Sweep program.

We want to make it simpler for you to dispose of hazardous wastes properly!
Small businesses with small amounts of hazardous wastes may find themselves in a logistical and financial bind: in general, the hazardous waste disposal industry is geared to serve medium and large businesses, regularly removing many drums of hazardous wastes. Smaller businesses don’t qualify for the industry’s volume-based price breaks and so end up facing high per-unit fees on top of prohibitive pickup and transport costs – if they can obtain service at all.

The Emmet County Department of Public Works (ECDPW) can help many small businesses avoid this bind. Our Household Chemical Drop-off Program can take hazardous materials from businesses and organizations which meet both of the following limits:

  • Produce less than 220 pounds of hazardous waste a month
  • Never accumulate more than 2,200 pounds of material at a time.

Call the Emmet County Department of Public Works for more information at 231-348-0640.

All businesses are legally responsible for proper disposal or recycling of all of their hazardous waste materials, including:
Aerosol Cans
Computer Equipment
Contaminated Materials
Cyanide Wastes
Developing & Fixing Solutions
Dry cleaning
Filtration Residue
Fire Extinguishers
Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Heavy Metals/Inorganics
Ignitable Wastes
Paints & Paint Wastes
Petroleum Products
Silver/Silver Solutions
Spent Plating Wastes
Television Sets
Used Oils/Filters
Waste Inks & Ink Sludges
Wood Preserving Agents


Antifreeze Recyclingantifreeze yellow web


  • Ethylene glycol-based antifreeze
  • Propylene glycol-based antifreeze



  • Fee: $1/gl as of March 1, 2020.
  • Plan to pour your antifreeze off into the designated barrel at the Drop-off Center.
  • Maximum accepted: 20 gallons per customer. If you have more than 20 gallons, please contact our antifreeze recycling partner about working with them directly:
    Heritage Crystal Clean 877-938-7948.


Antifreeze is accepted at the Drop-off Center in the Hazardous Materials Recycling area.


Motor Oil and Oil Filter Recycling

WHAT:motor oil yellow back

  • Motor Oil
  • Brake Fluid
  • Automatic Transmission Fluid
  • Diesel Fuel
  • Hydraulic Fluid
  • Lube Oils
  • Oil Filters


But NO:

  • NO transformer oil
  • NO gasoline
  • NO gasoline/oil mix
  • NO 2-stroke oil
  • NO water
  • NO Fuel Oil
  • NO Blue DEF Fluid


Motor oil and oil filters are accepted at the Drop-off Center in the Hazardous Materials Recycling area.




  • Fee: $1/gl as of March 1, 2020
  • All of these fluids are collected together in one tank, so you can take your container home to use again.
  • There is a cart for oil filters near the oil tank.
  • Please drain as much oil as possible from oil filters before putting them in the cart.
  • Maximum Accepted: 40 gallons per customer. If you have more than 40 gallons, please contact our motor oil recycling partner about working with them directly: Heritage Crystal Clean 877-938-7948.



chemicalsClean Sweep Program

Pesticides – The DPW accepts pesticides FREE while funds last annually from any user* in Michigan, thanks to a Clean-Sweep grant from the Michigan Department of Agriculture. This encompasses households, but also all kinds of businesses, except retailers selling pesticides.  Farmers, landscapers, and businesses using pesticides on their buildings and grounds are all welcome to use this free service.

Mercury – The DPW accepts mercury FREE while funds last annually from anyone in Michigan, thanks to a grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, while funding lasts annually.

An appointment on a Household Chemical Drop-off Day is required to drop off your mercury or pesticides. Please call 231-348-0640 for more information and an appointment.

* Retailers are not included in this program. If you are a retailer with pesticides to dispose of, we may be able to help you identify other options. Call the DPW at 231-348-0640.