St. Clair County Resource Recovery Office

Wood Preservatives

Wood preservatives contain chemicals that are poisonous to the organisms that make wood decay. Other products, such as sealants and stains, protect wood by keeping out water, but these are paint products, not wood preservatives. Improper disposal of wood preservatives-in the trash, on the ground or down a drain or storm sewer-can contaminate ground water, lakes and streams

This fact sheet provides instructions for household wood preservatives 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

To find out if your wood preservative is usable, check the product label. If your wood preservative does not contain creosote or pentachlorophenol, it can be used. If you can't use up your leftover wood preservative, give it to someone who can. Nursery operators, landscapers, building contractor, friends and neighbors may be able to use your leftover wood preservatives.

Creosote and pentachlorophenol-containing products, which have been restricted from consumer use since 1985, should be given to a trained user. Landscape companies, railroads, nurseries and wood-treating companies may have trained staff and may accept your leftovers.

DISPOSAL: When you can't use it up.

Wood preservatives that can't be used up should be taken to a household hazardous waste collection for proper disposal. Call the St. Clair County Resource Recovery Office at (810) 985-2443 for collection dates and times. However, until you can bring the waste to a collection, store the chemicals with the lids tightly sealed in an area away from children and pets


Wood preservatives are toxic chemicals and they are always a disposal problem. Wood preservatives can pose a serious health threat it you don't carefully follow label directions. Be a careful consumer.

Before buying a wood preservative, make sure you need one. Sometimes, a water-seal coating will serve your purpose as well.

If you must buy, purchase the smallest quantity possible for your job. You won't end up with a disposal problem.

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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