Properly Disposing of Hazardous Household Products

by Emily McBride
(last updated June 12, 2017)

Many people throw things in the garbage can, not realizing that they're contributing to the worldwide problem of hazardous waste. It may not seem like a big deal to just throw out a couple batteries or paint cans, but if everyone has that attitude, the number of batteries and paint cans will add up. Here is how to properly dispose of hazardous household products:

  1. First, you need to figure out if the waste is potentially hazardous or not. Common ones are paint cans, batteries, motor oil, pesticides, mothballs, rubber cement, expired prescription medications, spot removers, disinfectants, drain cleaners, computers, televisions, antifreeze, oven cleaners, and weed killers. To figure out if other materials are hazardous waste, you may need to do some researching. The best place to start is with instruction labels. Look out for warnings that tell you to wear gloves while using the product, to not store near heat or open flame, or to use only in a well-ventilated room.
  2. Recycle or reuse any hazardous materials that you can. Batteries can be recycled. Check packaging or research to figure out which hazardous materials can be recycled.
  3. Keep all items in their original containers. Store your hazardous waste in a cardboard box or plastic crate, or any other container that won't break or leak.
  4. Next, you need to get in contact with a waste removal or recycling agency. You can look these up online or in the yellow pages. Different locations offer different services at different costs. Some agencies will come pick up your hazardous waste if you request them to. Others will tell you where you can drop off your waste. If you are dropping off your waste, be sure to transport the boxes carefully.
  5. When you are working with or transporting your waste, be very careful. A lot of hazardous waste is flammable, so avoid smoking or lighting fires. Also, avoid opening containers whenever possible. If you touch anything that is harmful, call a poison control center.
  6. One of the best ways to help the environment is to reduce the amount of hazardous waste that you are using in your home. Buy rechargeable and other reusable productss instead of single use items.

Using the appropriate agencies to get rid of your hazardous household products may seem like a waste of time, but it is important to help keep the environment safe. The safer we keep the environment, the better our own health will be.

Author Bio

Emily McBride

A senior majoring in English and editing at BYU, Emily hopes to enter the field of professional editing upon graduation. Emily has done humanitarian work in Africa and studied in London. She enjoys blogging, foreign films, and playing the piano. ...

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