Household Special Waste

Household Special Waste or HSW, refers to a wide variety of commonly generated household chemicals and other items that can be a problem to dispose of properly. HSW includes all types of paint, varnish, paint thinner, motor oil, antifreeze, gasoline, lawn and garden products, cleaning products, pool and hobby chemicals, aerosols, etc.

Throwing these items into the trash can pose a health and safety risk to trash collection personnel as well as cause harm to our natural environment. The best alternative is to use up the product completely or find someone who can use the remainder of the product.

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Acceptable HSW Items

Our Program

MMWA has announced its Household Special Waste program schedule for 2017, with drop-off days starting in May. See the HSW poster for this year’s schedule and program details:


Problem waste drop-offs are open to all Saginaw County residents, along with MMWA member residents from Village of Breckenridge, Bethany Twp and Wheeler Twp. Drop-off days are free of charge, and no appointment is necessary.

Here’s how it works:

• With the exception of some electronics items (televisions and CRT monitors) the program is free of charge
• No appointment necessary.
• Household waste only.

Participation eligibility requirements:

• Resident of Saginaw County, Village of Breckendridge, Bethany or Wheeler Twp’s.
• Proof of residency required.
• Bring material in original labeled containers.
• Bring material in 5 gallon or smaller containers. NO drums or barrels.

Special Notes:

• Per federal/state environmental law, business waste not allowed.
• For safety reasons, containers are not returned.

Transport your containers safely:

• Keep products in original, labeled container.
• Do NOT pour products together into one container.
• Adequately seal all containers to prevent accidental spills.
• Place the items in a box, bag or other container.
• Secure the box in the trunk or rear section of your vehicle to prevent spillage in the event of sudden stops.

Acceptable HSW Items

Automotive Products

• Used motor oil
• Anti-freeze
• Gasoline
• Windshield washer fluid
• Cleaning products
• Lead-acid batteries

Household Products

• Fluorescent bulbs
• Smoke detectors
• Drain cleaner
• Ammonia
• Kerosene

Home Improvement

• Latex paint
• Oil-based paint
• Stains
• Varnish
• Paint Thinner
• Glues/adhesives
• Asphalt and roofing tar

Lawn and Garden

• Fertilizer
• Weed killer
• Pesticides
• Insecticides
• Herbicides
• Pool Chemicals


• Lead
• Mercury
• Acids
• Dyes
• Degreasers

Unacceptable HSW Items

• Business wastes
• Alkaline household batteries (safe to dispose of with regular trash)
• Ammunition
• Asbestos
• Explosives
• Tires
• Propane tanks

Other HSW programs

Saginaw County operates a Clean Sweep collection for agricultural pesticides at their permanent pesticide storage building in Saginaw Township. Mercury is also accepted at collections. Any Michigan homeowner, farm, greenhouse, nursery, golf course or other end user of pesticides can use this service, but not people who apply pesticides for hire.

For 2017, these items may be disposed of on the following dates BY APPOINTMENT ONLY:
May 4
June 1
July 6
August 3
September 7
October 5

To schedule an appointment or for more information, call the Saginaw County Department of Public Health at (989) 758-3685.

The Bay and Midland County Health Departments also offer HSW services. Events are by appointment only and open only to residents of the sponsoring county. For Health Department event details, call your local department:

Midland County Department of Public Health

Bay County Department of Public Health



CFL MercuryMercury, common in home thermometers, thermostats and fluorescent bulbs, can harm human health and the environment if spilled.

Recycle those CFL’s! In order to keep mercury out of the environment and actually have it recycled back into similar products, residents can drop off CFL’s at local Menards, Lowe’s and Home Depot stores.

DO NOT VACUUM up any spilled mercury. Instead, follow these steps:

Mercury Cleanup

• Use two pieces of paper and an eyedropper to scoop up mercury droplets.
• Place mercury in a plastic or glass jar.
• Put the paper used for clean up into a plastic bag.
• Bring the plastic bag and the contained mercury to a mercury drop off day or a household hazardous waste collection day.
• A free booklet detailing how to properly handle home mercury spills is available from Saginaw County Department of Public Health (SCDPH) or MMWA. SCDPH can be reached at 989-758-3686 or

A few facts regarding mercury according to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality:

• CFLs contain less mercury than thermostats, switches, etc.
• One thermostat is equivalent to 1,000 CFLs.
• HSW programs collect far more “bulk mercury” in paint cans, jam jars, etc, than any other mercury source.
• From 2001 to 2010, Michigan HSW/Clean Sweep sites collected more than 111,634 mercury devices and 5,237 pounds of bulk, elemental mercury.

For more on the health hazards of mercury and what you can do to protect yourself and your family, please visit for The Michigan Department of Community Health’s Mercury Information page.

The Listings on this website do not constitute an endorsement by Mid Michigan Waste Authority. The information provided is not all inclusive and is subject to change without notice.


Several times a year MMWA holds events that bring about the need for volunteers. Without volunteers the events could not be as successful as they are. If you are interested in volunteering at an MMWA event please go to Volunteer Match to view or sign up for upcoming opportunities.