Household Hazardous Waste or HHW is more common that one may think. This type of waste includes leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients. Products such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries and pesticides can contain potentially hazardous ingredients and thus require special care when you dispose of them.
Improper disposal of household hazardous wastes can include pouring them down the drain, on the ground, into storm sewers, or in some cases putting them out with the trash. Please know that Advanced Disposal only owns and operates non-hazardous waste collection routes, transfer stations and landfills. The dangers of such disposal methods might not be immediately obvious, but improper disposal of these wastes can pollute the environment and pose a threat to human health. Many communities in the United States offer a variety of options for conveniently and safely managing HHW.
One way you can reduce the number of household hazardous wastes to dispose of at home is to limit your purchase of products that contain hazardous ingredients. Learn about the use of alternative methods or products—without hazardous ingredients—for some common household needs. Here’s a helpful guide on alternative household cleaning solutions.
To avoid the potential risks associated with HHW, it is important that people always monitor the use, storage and disposal of products with potentially hazardous substances in their homes. Below are some tips for individuals to follow in their own homes:
- Use and store products containing hazardous substances carefully to prevent any accidents at home.
- Never store hazardous products in food containers; keep them in their original containers and never remove labels.
- Corroding containers, however, require special handling. Call your local hazardous materials official or fire department for instructions.
- When leftovers remain, never mix HHW with other products. Incompatible products might react, ignite, or explode, and contaminated HHW might become unrecyclable.
- Remember to follow any instructions for use and disposal provided on product labels.
- Call your local environmental, health, or solid waste agency for instructions on proper use and disposal and to learn about local HHW drop off programs and upcoming collection days.
Permanent collection or exchange. See if your community has a facility that collects HHW year-round. Some of these facilities have exchange areas for unused or leftover paints, solvents, pesticides, cleaning and automotive products, and other materials. By taking advantage of these facilities, materials can be used by someone else, rather than being thrown away.
Special collection days. If your community doesn’t have a year-round collection system for HHW, see if there are any designated days in your area for collecting solid waste at a central location to ensure safe management and disposal.
Local business collection sites. If your community has neither a permanent collection site nor a special collection day, you might be able to drop off certain products at local businesses for recycling or proper disposal. Some local garages, for example, may accept used motor oil for recycling.
Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency