Household Hazardous Waste

Household Hazardous Waste Program

Picture of man properly disposing of household hazardous waste.

What Is the Household Hazardous Waste Program?

Most household paint and chemicals are safe when used and stored properly. When disposed of improperly, household wastes can become environmental hazards. Monroe County provides residents with a way to safely recycle or dispose of this household hazardous waste (HHW) free-of-charge. See below for product lists and quantity limits. For a link to an educational video about the HHW program, its mobile highway garage collections and the county's ecopark facility, click here.

Who Can Participate and How?

The free portion of this program is open ONLY to Monroe County households with non-industrial, home-use chemicals/materials. To ensure safety and better serve customers, items are accepted by appointment only. Call 585 753-7600 (Option 3), 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday–Friday or use our online scheduler to make an appointment. Be ready to describe your items and the quantity of each. After an appointment is made, you will be sent directions to the HHW facility and instructions for the safe packaging and transportation of your items.

Under a separate fee-based program, small businesses (including home-based businesses), not-for-profits, churches, institutions and out-of-county residents may be able to bring materials in for proper handling. Please click here or call the above number for more information on this program. Monroe County households that have somehow acquired industrial-use products may also click the link or call the above number for details on how to properly manage the materials.

What Can You Bring?

Monroe County residents can bring up to 30 gallons of liquid and 75 pounds of solid HHW per appointment without charge. No 55-gallon drums will be accepted.

Acceptable

  • Oil-based and Latex Paint (for 1/3-can or less of latex paint: discard lid, add kitty litter, stir, let dry, place can(s) in trash)
  • Wood Stain and Preservatives
  • Automotive Fluids (antifreeze; brake, power steering and transmission fluids)
  • Pesticides and Fertilizers
  • Flammable Products (gasoline, kerosene, thinners, strippers, solvents, glues, etc.)
  • Household Cleaners (soaps, waxes, drain cleaners, etc.)
  • Driveway Sealer
  • Propane Tanks (1 and 20-pound only)
  • Pool and Photo Chemicals
  • Rechargeable (Ni-Cad), Lithium Ion and Button Batteries -- Note: NYS Law requires retailers of these batteries to accept them back (Lowes, Radio Shack, Target, WalMart, etc.).
  • Mercury (thermometers, thermostats, fluorescent tubes; Note: Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) should be brought to any Home Depot/Lowes for recycling) - click here for small mercury spill instructions. If a CFL or fluorescent tube breaks in your home, click here for information. For information on NYS law regarding the management of mercury-added consumer products, click here.
  • Syringes/Sharps (safely packaged) -- Note: Call your doctor, pharmacy or clinic and ask if they accept properly-contained sharps for disposal. Effective July 1, 1995, NYS law requires hospitals and nursing homes to accept properly-contained home medical waste for disposal.
  • Cooking Oil/Cooking Grease

Not Acceptable

  • 1/3-Can or Less of Latex Paint (see instructions above)
  • Cans with Dried Paint—remove lid and place in trash)
  • Used Motor Oil and Lead Acid Batteries (contact service station or retailer)
  • Freon-containing items like dehumidifiers, air conditioners, etc. (contact your garbage hauler for pick-up -- there will be an additional charge for this service -- these items may also be brought to the ecopark for a $15 fee) 
  • Empty Containers (place in trash or recycle)
  • Everyday Alkaline Batteries (place in trash)
  • Glazing/Spackle and Joint Compounds (trash)
  • Asbestos (see Yellow Pages under “Asbestos Abatement”)
  • Products intended for industrial use
  • Explosives/Ammunition/Black/Smokeless Powder (Call 9-1-1)
  • Shock Sensitive Materials (i.e. crystallized ethers, picric acid) (Call 9-1-1)

Location and Directions

Monroe County ecopark Facility (You must have an appointment to bring HHW)
10 Avion Drive
Rochester, New York 14624
Phone: 585 753-7600 (option #3)

From I-390:

Take Exit #17 (Scottsville Road - NY 383). Go south for 2 miles and turn right on Paul Road (Rt. 252A). Stay on Paul Road for 1.3 miles, turn left into the facility (Avion Drive) and follow the signs.

From Jefferson Road at Scottsville Road:

Turn north on Scottsville Road and continue for 1.2 miles. Turn left on Paul Road (Rt. 252A) and continue for 1.3 miles, turn left into the facility (Avion Drive) and follow the signs.

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Packaging and Proper Handling of HHW

DO...

  • Use caution (and gloves) when handling HHW. Keep products in their original container. If not in the original container, clearly hand-label the contents on the container. Do not mix products together.
  • Separate incompatible HHW product categories (pesticides, pool chemicals, photo chemicals, acids/bases, etc.) into their own different cardboard boxes. If the HHW containers are in poor condition, line the box with an open plastic bag—do not seal or tie the bag closed. Place crumpled newspaper between breakable containers.
  • Pack smaller products (quart or smaller paints/stains, aerosols, car products, etc.) in cardboard boxes.
  • Load the HHW as far away from passengers as possible and open a window sufficiently for ventilation. Protect your trunk or floor from spills.
  • Drive directly to the collection facility. For your safety, you must remain in your vehicle during the unloading process. Trained staff will remove the HHW.

DO NOT...

  • Pack HHW in plastic bags only or in any container you would like returned (except for authorized gasoline/kerosene cans).
  • Bring children or pets to the collection facility.
  • Bring any empty containers or materials listed as unacceptable (they will be left with you).
  • Bring over the waste quantity per appointment limit (anything over will be left in your vehicle or a fee may be charged).
  • Smoke at the facility or while packaging or transporting HHW.

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HHW Program History

Why Have an HHW Collection Program?

In the late 1980s, the DES began receiving an increasing number of calls from county residents seeking ways to properly dispose of old paints, lawn care products, automotive fluids and unwanted or unusable household chemicals. At that point in time, there was really no good answer to give them. With no easy, safe and convenient way for residents to dispose of these wastes, many of the paints, chemicals and thinners ended up in landfills or down storm and sanitary sewers. Historically, these wastes could leak from old, unlined landfills and contaminate ground water and soil (active MSW landfills in NYS are now required to be multiply-lined to prevent leaks). Most storm sewers go directly to creeks, rivers, ponds or lakes where these chemicals are hazardous to aquatic life. Pouring unwanted household wastes down sink drains or toilets and into sanitary sewers can harm microorganisms used by wastewater treatment plants to make sewer water safe before it is released back into the environment. In 1989, in an effort to protect the environment, DES advertised and held a one-day HHW collection for county residents. The response was overwhelming. Over 1,400 residents swamped the collection area and Monroe County’s HHW collection program was off and running.

HHW Timeline

  • October 1989
    The organized disposal of HHW in Monroe County began with a single collection event–1,400 residents participated.
  • September 1991
    The County builds the first permanent HHW Facility in Upstate N.Y.–operated by the Monroe County Department of Environmental Services (DES).
    The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) supports the HHW program with grant monies available through State Assistance Program. Monroe County submits quarterly and annual reports to the NYSDEC, which permits the facility.
  • 1995
    NYSDEC permits the facility to accept waste generated by qualified businesses, known as Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators.
  • 1997
    NYSDEC permits the facility to accept wastes from out-of-county households.
    County designates Safety Kleen Corporation (now Clean Harbors) as its primary hazardous waste disposal company. Eastman Kodak Company also donates the use of its hazardous waste incinerator for the safe incineration of certain wastes.
  • September 1995
    In an effort to better serve outlying areas and improve program convenience, Monroe County holds the first Mobile Household Hazardous Waste Collection in New York state.
  • February 1998
    Monroe County HHW program wins the New York State Water Environment Association’s Industrial and Hazardous Waste Award.
  • November 1998
    Monroe County unveils a new, modern HHW Facility. The new facility:
    • Doubles size of operations area and storage capacity
    • Improves spill containment/control measures
    • Adds ventilation system and other safety features
    • Provides a more efficient working area--keeping costs down
    • Offers more flexibility in consolidation efforts
  • March 1998
    Monroe County holds New York state’s first mercury-only collection -over 1,000 pounds collected in a three-day period.
  • September 2011
    Monroe County opens the ecopark as a one-stop-drop for HHW and other difficult to manage items.

Overview: HHW In Monroe County

  • Population: 735,343–Households: 286,512
  • Since HHW program started in 1991: 85,700 households served
  • Collections held at permanent facility: 845
  • Mobile collections held in town and villages: 102
  • Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators serviced (1995-2010): 1,896
  • Average participation rate per four-hour collection: 230 vehicles (up from 85 in 1991)
  • 2,891 tons of material collected to date
  • Program users surveyed by DES to evaluate program’s strengths and weaknesses (98 percent satisfaction rating)
  • Reportable on-site spills: NONE

Program Highlights:

  • Time it takes for the average resident to be served at the facility–five to ten minutes.
  • Thermometer exchange program (DES exchanges mercury-containing thermometers for mercury-free thermometers at no charge).
  • Pesticide Amnesty Program (1997)—collection day for farmers nets 8 tons of pesticides.

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HHW Partnerships

  • Baker Commodities (585 482-1880)
    Provides a collection service for used commercial cooking oils and a pumping service for indoor and underground restaurant grease traps. These materials are processed at its Rochester, New York facility.
  • ABVI Goodwill Industries
    Partnership that collects toys, clothes, and small appliances at selected HHW collection sites, to remove this reusable material from the solid waste stream.
  • Volunteers of America
    Partnership that collects toys, clothes, and small appliances at selected HHW collection sites, to remove this reusable material from the solid waste stream.
  • Wal-Mart
    Sponsor of HHW collection event in June 2000. Collection held at Penfield Wal-Mart parking lot. Wal-Mart sponsored collection to promote environmental conservation in Monroe County.
  • Boy Scouts of America
    Boy Scouts have used the HHW collection program to obtain Eagle Scout badges by organizing and promoting HHW collections.
  • 10NBC
    Local NBC affiliate and Monroe County teamed up with local sponsors to create an ad campaign highlighting the household hazardous waste program and recycling efforts throughout Monroe County.

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