St. Clair County Resource Recovery Office

Personal Care Products

Most personal-care products, such as medicines, skin-care products, and other items commonly used on skin and hair, are not considered an environmental hazard in their disposal. Only a few personal-care products are considered hazardous waste when they are not used up.

This fact sheet provides instructions for household personal-care products disposal. The St. Clair County Resource Recovery Office also has fact sheets on how to dispose of other common types of household hazardous waste:

· Adhesives
· Aerosol Containers
· Antifreeze
· Cleaners, Medications
· Gasoline
· Paint
· Solvents
· Wood Preservatives

For more information on household hazardous wastes and collection programs:
St. Clair County Resource Recovery Office
(810) 985-2443


Personal-care products include:

· Cosmetics
· Lotions and gels
· Prescription medications
· Non-prescription medications
· Sun screens and blocks
· Skin and hair-care products
· Perfumes and aftershaves
· Toothpaste and mouthwash
· Soaps
· Other items for personal use

Although most of these products are not considered hazardous waste and can be disposed of at home, in most cases it is better to use up the products than to throw them away. If you don't have a use for these items, give them to someone who can use them up.

DISPOSAL: When you can't use it up.


If you have a backyard septic tank, experts generally advise that you not dispose of products in your system because of the risk of destroying the bacteria that make the system function.

Medicinal creams and other medicines can be disposed of in your regular trash.

Chemotherapy drugs are hazardous wastes and should be returned to the hospital or pharmacy where you purchased or received them. Be very careful when handling these medications-they are extremely toxic.

Other personal-care products: Cosmetics, skin and hair-care products, can be disposed of in the trash if they are solids. The only exceptions are nail polish, nail polish remover and products in aerosol containers.

Nail polish should be dried out and hardened before it is thrown away. Do this by opening the cap and allowing the contents to dry, in an outside area away from children, pets and sources of heat or flame. Once the contents are completely dry and hardened, the container can be thrown in the trash.

Nail-polish remover is a flammable solvent and should not be poured down the drain because of the risk of explosion in the sewer system. Nail-polish remover that can't be used up should be saved for a household hazardous waste collection. Call the St. Clair County Resource Recovery Office at (810) 985-2443 for information on collection dates and times.

Personal-care products in aerosol containers, such as hair spray and deodorants, should not be thrown in the trash unless they are completely empty and depressurized. Click here for disposing of products in aerosol containers.


Disposal of certain personal-care products can be an environmental hazard. But the disposal hazards can easily be avoided by being an environ-mentally conscious consumer.

Avoid buying personal-care products in aerosol containers. Buy products in pump spray, lotions or solids instead. Most products are readily available in non-aerosol forms.

Use up nail polish and nail polish remover, or give it to a friend to use up. You won't end up with a disposal problem.

Dispose of expired medications, following the disposal advice in this fact sheet. Stored medications pose a poisoning risk to children.

Contact Information

Environmental Services Department
6779 Smiths Creek Road
Smiths Creek, MI 48074

Phone: Smiths Creek Landfill (810) 985-2443
Household Hazardous Waste     (810) 985-2443
Recycling (810) 985-2443
Fax: (810) 367-3062
Email: Environmental Services
Hours of Operation: Monday - Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Solid Waste & Recycling Status: 

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