Participation in a Household Hazardous Waste Collection Drive and "Before" and "After" Public Knowledge and Disposal Practices: Champaign County

Roland J. Liebert

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingTechnical report


The extent to which households use, store, and dispose of hazardous materials has become a matter of increasing concern but has rarely been assessed. This project report provides an assessment of the first household hazardous materials publicity campaign and collection event held in Illinois. The collection event date was September 13, 1987, in Champaign County. This report describes survey results concerning the state of public awareness, use, and disposal of household hazardous materials prior to and immediately after the publicity campaign in Champaign County. Comparisons with the city of Decatur are included. Results from the two surveys indicated that 30-40 percent of the urban households had heard about hazardous waste problems before the campaign and nearly 60 percent had heard about them after the event. Most of the public could assess hazardousness of materials reasonably well. Farmers were generally much better informed than were city dwellers. In all communities, the better-educated and established citizens were better informed about hazardous waste than were others and were more likely to become better informed during the campaign. While each farm household had on average over 26 partial or full containers of hazardous material, urban households had an average of 10 such containers at their homes. This came to an estimated total of over 390,000 partial or full containers at Champaign/Urbana homes alone. Established citizens, homeowners, and larger households had greater quantities. Environmentally inappropriate disposal of hazardous waste from homes exceeded an estimated total of 38,600 containers per year in Champaign/Urbana, 30,750 per year in Decatur, and 1,490 per year among Champaign County farmers. The inappropriate disposal of these containers from Champaign/Urbana would, if left uncrushed, fill a 74 to 158 cubic yard site. On public policy issues, overwhelming majorities in each community expressed support for various types of special household hazardous waste collection programs. The collection event was very successful in extending basic awareness and in reaching households with unwanted hazardous waste. The event drew only 0.7 percent of the city households but collected 7 percent of the quantity of hazardous waste improperly disposed of each year. The surveys also indicated a need for an educational program to reduce the production of hazardous waste by households. To fund these programs, the public favored either a special sales tax on hazardous materials or a surcharge on solid waste disposal in landfills.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Place of PublicationChampaign, IL
PublisherIllinois Hazardous Waste Research and Information Center
StatePublished - Sep 1988

Publication series

NameRR Series (Hazardous Waste Research and Information Center)


  • Hazardous substances -- Illinois -- Champaign County
  • Household hazardous waste -- Illinois -- Champaign County


Dive into the research topics of 'Participation in a Household Hazardous Waste Collection Drive and "Before" and "After" Public Knowledge and Disposal Practices: Champaign County'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this