Cleansweep Hazardous Waste Management

With the support of Ashland County government and in partnership with the Northwest Regional Planning Commission, the Extension Ashland County office coordinates an annual hazardous waste collection called ‘Clean Sweep.’

A large rainbow flag is a sign you’re in the right place for Ashland County’s Cleansweep Hazardous Waste Collection Event!
Controlled medications, prescriptions, and over the counter medicines can be disposed of at no cost.
Cars lined up for the start of the 2023 Cleansweep Collection Event at Northwood Technical College.

Cleansweep Collections

Counties in Northern Wisconsin have contracted with the Northwest Regional Planning Commission to offer annual Cleansweep Collections at no or low cost to households, farms, and businesses in a nine-county region since 1995. The program received a Wisconsin Governors Award for Excellence in Solid Waste Reduction by offering almost 400 collection events and keeping 1.6 million pounds of toxic materials from harming our waters, land, and wildlife.

Veolia takes care of the waste during and after the collection event,

“We’ve helped over 2,500 communities across the United States organize, promote and implement convenient household hazardous waste collection programs to assure that these wastes are managed safely and in the most environmentally responsible manner. Your participation helps reduce your carbon footprint, while protecting human health and the environment”.

Veolia North America’s Household Hazardous Waste Management Page

The Veolia team smiling for a photo! This group spends their summer traveling to different communities and handling their hazardous waste.
Ashland County Administrator, Dan Grady volunteering during 2023 Cleansweep! He spent time trading donuts for prescription medications as part of Donuts for Drugs.
Volunteer Zach Ditzenberger assisting a community member with paperwork. Ashland County residents have been participating in annual Cleansweep events since the regional program started in 1995—that’s 27 years’ worth of hazardous materials kept out of landfills, soil, and water ways!

Save the Date for 2023 Cleansweep!

When: Tuesday, June 20, 2023 from 2:00PM-6:00PM

Where: Northwood Technical College’s south parking lot. 2100 Beaser Ave.

Who to Contact: Lissa Radke, Ashland County UW Extension, 715-682-7017

View all the Cleansweep Household hazardous Waste Collection dates & sites here

Click here for the 2023 list of acceptable/not acceptable items at Cleansweep from Northwest Regional Planning Commission.

Additionally, you can refer to the most up to date Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Guide Here.

Before Cleansweep: Webinars with Experts

How and Why to Dispose of Hazardous Waste

The program is about 45 minutes long.

Link to watch the webinar

Join our Community Development Educator Lissa Radke and Sheldon Johnson, the executive director of Northwest Regional Planning Commission, as they talk about how to dispose of toxic materials at 9 community collections events in 2023.

You’ll learn why an annual Cleansweeps collection event was started, what’s acceptable and what’s not, where to take materials throughout the year in Ashland County, and how to avoid hazardous materials by choosing safe alternatives.

Green Your Life: Reduce Your Use of Hazardous Materials!

You can view a recording of this webinar on YouTube by following this link

The program is co-hosted by UW Madison Division of Extension-Ashland County, the Environmental Assistance Program at Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and Veolia Environmental Services-North America.

All of us have it stored on shelves in our basements, garages, barns, out buildings, and other places–hazardous materials. Unused oil paint, old farm chemicals, toxic cleaners, burned out batteries and light bulbs. In this one-hour webinar, we’ll learn what happens to those products after you take them to a local Cleansweep collection. And, we’ll learn how to avoid even using hazardous materials by purchasing safe products instead. The webinar is free and open to the public including members of households, farms, businesses, schools, and municipalities but pre-registration is required.

-Renee Bashel is the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program Manager at the WI DNR’s Environmental Assistance Program in Madison. She will talk about how to read labels to see if something it harmful before it’s purchased. She specializes in helping businesses and farms reduce their wastes, but will also talk about choosing safer household products. Renee shared her PowerPoint presentation so you can learn how to read a product label and access the resource links she recommended to find safe products and items.

-Two employees with Veolia Environmental Services-North America will describe how the hazardous products brought to Cleansweep sites are disposed of, whether through reuse, recycling, industrial incineration, or controlled landfilling. Josh Harmelink and Pat Baskfield establish and operate Cleansweep collection events all over Wisconsin—about 150 events a year!  Veolia is a private company that has been working with municipalities, states, and large corporations to operate Cleansweep and other events for 40 years. They’ve been contracted by the Northwest Regional Planning Commission to process all 9 participating counties’ Cleansweep materials since 2020.

More Hazardous Waste Management Resources

-Latex paints and water-based stains are not accepted at Cleansweeps since they’re not considered hazardous. Here’s a short video showing how to safely dispose of latex paint and cans.

-A wide variety of statewide recycling and waste management information is available from the UW Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center.

-For medium to large quantities of materials to recycle on your time schedule check Waste Management’s LampTracker which offers environmentally friendly, safe, and simple recycling solutions for fluorescent lamps, dry cell batteries, lighting ballasts, mercury devices, computers, electronics, sharps, bottles, cans, and paper, the cost includes pre-paid mailing.

WDNR’s Small Business Assistance Center: Confused by environmental regulations? Wondering where to go for help? WDNR has tools to help you make sure you’re doing the right thing for your business and the environment.

-The US Environmental Protection Agency’s web site is a great place to learn what is/isn’t hazardous, handling household hazardous waste, as well as how to purchase or make your own safe alternatives instead of buying toxic products

-The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit organization that identifies which products are truly safe and which are not safe to use, especially cleaners. See their Wallet Guide for Healthy Cleaning here.

In 2022, the following materials were brought to the Ashland County Cleansweep Collection Date

  • 6,986 lbs. of chemicals including…
    • 1584 lbs. of Pesticides/poisions
    • 1171 lbs. of Lead/Oil Paint
    • 3000 lbs. of Solvents/Thinners
    • 589 lbs. of Aerosol Cans
  • 4’ and under bulbs: 1,089
  • 5’ and over bulbs: 24
  • NiCad batteries: 70 lbs.
  • Fl. Compacts: 133