When I lived in Illinois and threw out that old ten-pound stereo receiver I broke the law. However, it's perfectly fine if that old stereo receiver wound up in Mount Trashmore behind the Menards here in Sedalia. That's because electronics are banned from landfills in Illinois, but not in Missouri.

Let's start out by talking about what's illegal to throw away in both Missouri and Illinois because there are five items that are a no-no when it comes to winding up in landfills in both states. Here's the skinny from Earth 911.com :

Car Batteries

battery cables
Joe Belanger

When you can't charge that car or truck battery anymore, it's best to let the mechanic handle how to dispose of it. Because you can't put it out with your trash. A lot of repair shops and auto parts stores can recycle your old car or truck battery. Especially if you buy your new battery from them.

Medical Waste

Julie Workman
Julie Workman

Medical Waste is a no-no in landfills. Most medical waste is generated at healthcare facilities like hospitals, doctor's offices, dental practices, blood banks, and veterinary practices according to the EPA. Yet those sharps and needles used to manage diabetes or other health conditions shouldn't be pitched in the garbage either. This is according to the EPA.

Motor Oil

Refueling and pouring oil into the engine motor car. Energy fuel concept.
Ake Ngiamsanguan

As the clean oil goes in, the dirty oil that's been drained has to go somewhere. That somewhere isn't the landfill, nor should it go behind the garage. Our neighbor worked on cars and trucks when I was a kid and he dumped oil behind his garage. What a nasty, dead, patch of earth. Don't throw it down the drain either.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources says that old oil when poured down a drain or sewer can pollute our drinking water and kill fish and organisms in lakes and streams. If you change your own oil The Missouri Department of Natural Resources can help you figure out how to properly get rid of it.

Scrap Tires

Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Missouri citizens generate about six million scrap tires per year, while Illinois residents generate 14 million scrap tires per year. The problem with scrap tires is they tend to collect water, which breeds mosquitos which then spread disease, both Illinois and Missouri cite this as one reason why tires can't just go to the dump. Illinois also cites tire fires as a problem, while Missouri just outright has made tire burning illegal.

Both states have aggressive programs to recycle tires, which is the easiest way to get rid of tires. Technically, in both states, if you shred up your old tires and meet certain specifications you might be able to put them in a landfill, but both states tend to frown on that. You can learn about the problems with old tires in Missouri from The Department of Natural Resources and in Illinois from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

White Goods (Large Appliances)

Old electrical appliances isolated

Until writing this I was unfamiliar with the term White Goods. Generally, this means major home appliances. Microwaves are not included in this. Missouri specifically says microwaves are ok to dump in landfills, and Illinois doesn't specifically list them as an appliance that can't be thrown away.

Missouri's Department of Natural Resources suggests consumers negotiate the disposal of their old appliances with the retailer that they're buying their new appliances from. A lot of times they'll take the old ones off your hands. Additionally, both states will let some landfills accept White Goods if the landfill has a storage area designed for these types of appliances or can remove the parts of the appliance that is environmentally harmful. They also suggest recycling or scrap metal collection centers as a place to get rid of your old White Goods. Learn more about the disposal of old appliances in Illinois here and Missouri here.

Illinois Has More Items You Can't Just Throw Away


Illinois law is stricter with what can't just be thrown away either. Other items that can't get tossed include electronic equipment, Cathode Ray Tubes, computers, mercury thermostats, fluorescent lamps, and even yard waste. You can read more about that from the Illinois EPA here.


The takeaway is if it can hurt the environment, people, animals, natural resources, or the humans working in the refuse business there's a good chance you're not going to be able to just throw it away and have it wind up in a landfill. That's why you can't throw these things away in Missouri, Illinois, and many other states for that matter.

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