When you look in your garage, under your sink, in the basement or shed, do you see lots of old chemicals, containers of dirty paint thinner, old computers or tvs, unwanted pesticides, and other unusable household chemicals? If you answered "Yes," you may be ready for a household hazardous waste (HHW) collection. Tennessee has a mobile HHW collection service that goes from county to county every Saturday from mid-March to mid-November. If you are a resident of Knox, Hamilton, or Davidson counties, you may take your HHW to one of the permanent collection sites located in your county. A permanant facility in Memphis should be opening in fall 2007.
HHW is as any unwanted or spent household product that can catch fire easily (flammable), eat away at or irritate living tissue (corrosive), react violently with water or other chemicals (reactive), or is poisonous to humans and animals (toxic). Usable household products may exhibit hazardous properties but until they become a waste they are not appropriate for the household hazardous waste program. Click here for a list of acceptable and unacceptable items.
Any Tennessee citizen can participate in the Mobile Household Hazardous Waste Collection Service. The process is very simple. Check the collection schedule to determine a convenient event for you. The day of the event, load the unwanted materials into your trunk or the back of your truck. For safety, donít mix materials, keep them in their original containers, double package any leaking containers, and place any breakable containers in a box, cushioned with newspaper. When you get to the event you will be surveyed to find out what county you live in and where you learned about the event.
Only households may use the service to dispose of hazardous wastes. No commercial, institutional, or agri-business waste will be accepted. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture runs an Agricultural Pesticide Waste Collection Program that will accept pesticides from farmers. Additionally, NO explosive, ordnance, ammunition, radioactives, or medical waste will be accepted.
Tennessee's Mobile Collection Service has been in operation since 1993. Since then, there have been over 850 one-day collections. Over 225,000 Tennessee families have brought in almost 16 million pounds of household hazardous waste for proper disposal. The program is funded by a $0.75 per ton surcharge on waste entering landfills.
For more information about Tennessee's Household Hazardous
Waste Program, please contact Paula Mitchell by email or at