Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Safely Dispose of Household Hazardous Waste

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With all the new environmental threats from our advancing technologies, safe Household Hazardous Waste Disposal is becoming more important for everyone! Look for the signal words DANGER, POISON, WARNING, and CAUTION to signify if a product may be dangerous.

Household hazardous waste disposal, how to safely dispose of Hazardous Household Waste (HHW). According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), our home waste is considered hazardous if it has “corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients.” That is a rather broad definition in my opinion. Just about everyone has some sort of material in their homes that would fit some part of that description. Most product labels will warn you if it is toxic or dangerous in some way and will give you a short paragraph titled Storage and Handling with a brief description of how to store and dispose of that particular item. So what are you supposed to do with it all and how can you get rid of it without creating an environmental hazard? First of all, here is what you should not do under any circumstances:

* Don’t do household hazardous waste disposal in the trash
* Don’t pour it down the sink, bathtub, or toilet drain
* Don’t pour it outside on the ground
* Don’t bury it
* Don’t burn it
* Don’t dump it in the sewer or storm drain

Here is a brief explanation for how to determine if a product is hazardous or not. Hazardous products are required by federal law to list the signal words DANGER or POISON to indicate that the product is highly toxic, corrosive or extremely flammable. The signal words WARNING or CAUTION indicate that the product is moderately or slightly toxic. There are some general categories for common household hazardous products which help to identify the thousands of products which are dangerous, and remember to look for the signal words on the labels!

Household hazardous waste signal words

Household hazardous waste signal words

hazardous waste signs

hazardous waste signs

*Automotive Products
Some common examples of what is bad, and that is just about anything to do with your car. It is virtually all toxic, from the oil and gas, to the antifreeze, brake fluid, washer fluid, car wax and cleaners, transmission fluid, and battery.

* Home Improvement Products
Examples consist of paint, paint remover and thinner, caulk, adhesives, varnish, and stain.

* Pesticides
Go figure, toxic to pests, more than likely toxic to everything else as well, use extreme caution! Examples include insecticide and insect repellent, weed killer, rat and mouse poison, pet spray and dip, flea collars, mothballs, disinfectant, wood preservative, and ant spray.

* Household Cleaners
Examples of these include furniture polish and wax, drain and oven cleaners, tub and tile cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, spot removers, bleach, and ammonia.

* Electronics
Many computer parts are toxic in nature and should be disposed of properly. Examples for this category are computers, laptops, computer parts, monitors, televisions, radios, and most other modern electronic equipment, more commonly referred to as e-waste.

* Other
Examples of this category are more general and include a wider array of products including household batteries, cosmetics, pool chemicals, shoe polish, lighter fluid, prescription medicines, arts and crafts materials.

Think before you buy products, and by all means look for safer alternatives before buying hazardous waste products. There are a few good articles on our site for safe homemade cleaning products that don’t contain any toxic chemicals or waste. If you do need to purchase a hazardous product, at least purchase the least toxic for future waste disposal. To do this remember to use the signal words, DANGER and POISON are much worse than WARNING or CAUTION!

Here are some eco-friendly ways that you can dispose of hazardous household waste (HHW) safely.

1. Call your local solid waste authority. If you have your garbage picked up, then you have someone to call. Ask them if they ever pick up HHW, and if so, when. Many waste management departments have certain days where HHW can be picked up. Check the web, too, to see if your local authorities post HHW collection days and times.

2. Return unused medication to the pharmacy or drug store where you purchased it. Some pharmacies have a drug recycling program in place. For unused over-the-counter drugs, contact the store where you purchased them to see what their policy is regarding disposal.

3. Recycle where you can. Contact your local recycling depot and see what their policy is regarding HHWs.

4. Find out if there is a local agency that collects HHW year-round.

5. Check with local businesses to see if they will accept HHWs associated with their business. For example, check with local mechanic shops and garages and see if they will accept used motor oil, car batteries, etc. Another example is leftover household paint. There are second-hand stores that will accept leftover paint.

6. Pay attention to labels. Household cleaning products, aerosol sprays, and other chemicals have notations on their labels about proper disposal.

7. Keep HHWs out of reach and sealed tightly while you are waiting for the next collection day, or before you get a chance to take the HHWs to the appropriate facility.

8. Do not mix your leftover cleaning products or other HHWs. Don’t pour your leftover window cleaner into the almost-empty bleach container, for example.

9. Be careful when you transport these toxic chemicals. Make sure they are tightly sealed and securely held in place in your vehicle while you drive them to the facility.

We hope that Household Hazardous Waste Disposal How to Safely Dispose of these toxins helps you to better understand this topic and not create a mini toxic waste dump in your yard or neighborhood!

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  1. […] poured down your drain, they can make their way into the groundwater and pollute the environment. has what seems a fairly comprehensive list of what constitutes an HHW and how to identify them in […]

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