Household Chemical Waste (HCW)

Please Note
SWALCO’s HCW Program is for residential waste only. No business, commercial or institutional wastes are accepted.

Household Chemical Waste (HCW) is a term used to describe a variety of chemical products found in a household that have toxic or hazardous characteristics. Common HCW products include, but are not limited to, cleaning products, oil based paints/varnishes, flammable liquids, automotive products, garden chemicals, personal care products, and medications. When disposed of improperly (pouring them down the drain, disposing in the garbage) these products can contaminate the groundwater and harm the environment.

SWALCO’s HCW collection program diverts HCW from the municipal waste stream by sending it to IEPA approved recycling and reuse facilities thereby reducing the volume and toxicity of our municipal waste stream. Our HCW program is a hybrid program consisting of year round public drop-off events (at our Gurnee facility) and mobile collection events at various locations throughout Lake County.  
This hybrid program was the first of its kind in the State of Illinois providing residents increased accessibility and year round “disposal” opportunities.

Why is this Program Important?

Over 700,000 people call in Lake County, Illinois home. The 2010 Census states there are over 240,000 households in the county and we estimate that nearly every household has a collection of 10-15 pounds of forgotten/unused household chemicals resting under the sinks, in the garage, basement or the infamous shed. (…on the lighter side of the scale, we talking about 2.4 MILLION lbs.of HCW). While this program is open to the entire State of Illinois, our facility is situated right here in Lake County. We are the only FREE Residential Household Chemical Waste collection site in the county.

  • Chemical waste poured onto soil, streets, or our municipal storm drains are carried to our streams, causing harm to our environment, fish and wildlife.
  • Chemical waste poured down household drains and toilets end up in our the sewage treatment plants and can eventually have a negative impact on wildlife and fish as well as our wetland areas.

  • Chemical waste that reach our landfills can potentially leach into the soil and pollute the surrounding groundwater.

  • Tossing chemical/hazardous waste into the garbage can threaten the safety and life of sanitation workers, who can be injured by acids, fires and explosions.

HCW Locations

Please click on the map icon below for our interactive map. Hit the location you wish to visit and directions will be prompted automatically.