Household Hazardous Waste?
What are the dangers of improper disposal?
Reduce and Recycle
Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days
Safe Management Methods
Hazardous Waste Information
Less Toxic Alternatives
is Household Hazardous Waste?
Some jobs around the home may require the use of products containing hazardous components. Such products may include certain paints, cleaners, stains and varnishes, car batteries, motor oil and pesticides. The used or leftover contents of such consumer products are known as "household hazardous waste".
Americans generate 1.5 million tons of household hazardous waste per year. The average home can accumulate as much as 100 pounds of household hazardous waste in the basement and garage and in storage sheds. Household hazardous waste that is disposed of improperly can result in potential risk to people and the environment. This page describes steps that people can take to reduce the amount of household hazardous waste they generate and ensure that these wastes are stored, handled and disposed of safely.
|What are the dangers of improper disposal?
Household hazardous wastes are sometimes disposed of improperly by individuals pouring wastes down the drain or on the ground, into storm sewers, or putting them out with trash. The dangers of these disposal methods may not be immediately observed, but certain types of household hazardous wastes have the potential to cause physical injury to sanitation workers, contaminate septic tanks or wastewater treatment systems if poured down drains or toilets and present hazards to children and pets if left around the house.
While households do not have to separate household hazardous waste from trash under federal law, some states have special requirements. Call local or state solid waste officials to learn what requirements apply to households or small businesses in your area
One way to reduce the potential problems associated with household hazardous wastes is to use non-hazardous or less hazardous products to accomplish the task at hand. Individuals can do this by reducing the amount and/or toxicity of the products they choose. This can include learning about the toxicity of products and about appropriate alternatives to household items containing hazardous substances. If you use products with hazardous components, use only the amount needed. Leftover materials can be shared with neighbors or donated to a business, charity or government agency, or given to a household hazardous waste collection program.
Recycling is an economical and environmentally sound way to handle some types of household hazardous waste, such as used automobile batteries and oil. Auto parts stores and service stations frequently accept used automobile batteries and 80 per cent of these batteries are currently recycled. Many states are drafting legislation requiring used oil recycling. Many service stations in Grand Island have begun collecting used oil as a service to their customers and community. Check with local solid waste officials to find a used oil recycling location in your area.
Hazardous Waste Collection
During the 1980s, many communities began special collection days or collection sites for handling household hazardous waste. On collection days, qualified professionals collect wastes at a central location to ensure safe disposal. The United States currently has over 3000 such programs.
Because of the potential risks associated with household hazardous wastes, it is important that people always use, store and dispose of materials containing hazardous substances safely. Use and store products containing hazardous substances carefully to prevent any accidents at home. Never store hazardous products in food containers. Keep products containing hazardous materials in their original containers and never remove the labels. Corroding containers however, should be repackaged and clearly labeled. This will prevent accidental ingestion and also can help protect sanitation workers. Never mix household hazardous waste with other products. Incompatibles may react, ignite or explode. Contaminated household hazardous waste may become unrecyclable.
Grand Island Clean Community System