Do You Have Hazardous Waste in Your House?

Do You Have Hazardous Waste in Your House?

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If you’ve painted your own home, refinished your flooring, or switched your lightbulbs from CFLs to LEDs, likelihood is you had some leftover merchandise containing harmful components. Paints, cleaners, batteries, and pesticides are among the many widespread family supplies that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies as family hazardous waste (HHW):

EPA considers some leftover family merchandise that may catch hearth, react, or explode underneath sure circumstances, or which might be corrosive or poisonous as family hazardous waste.”

Many varieties of HHW aren’t recyclable; for these merchandise, the main target is on conserving hazardous supplies out of the landfills and water provide. Let’s take a better have a look at why correct storage and disposal of those widespread family merchandise is so vital.

1. Why ought to I care about HHW?

First, it’s the regulation. The 1976 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) put guidelines in place for the storage, dealing with, and disposal of HHW. If you eliminate it improperly (for instance, pour it down the drain), you might be seemingly breaking the regulation.

Second, HHW typically accommodates poisonous chemical substances like cadmium, lead, and mercury. There’s a motive you’ll be able to now not discover paint containing lead or alkaline batteries containing mercury. They current a well being hazard to individuals, animals, and the atmosphere.

2. How do I determine HHW?

Unfortunately, family hazardous waste is never labeled explicitly. Some phrases to search for on the container embrace:

Signals Characteristics
Caution Corrosive
Danger Flammable
Poison Reactive
Warning Toxic

If you see any of those phrases on the label, you’re coping with a hazardous materials. Store the product away from kids and pets. Dispose of any remaining product by the correct channel.

3. Where do I discover HHW?

You’ll most frequently discover hazardous family merchandise within the storage, within the type of automotive fluids, paint, or pesticides. They are additionally widespread within the kitchen (aerosol cans, cleansing provides, fire extinguishers), rest room (medicines, nail polish, hypodermic needles), and dwelling areas (batteries, electronics, thermostats).

4. Who accepts HHW for disposal?

Because family hazardous waste is available in two varieties, liquid and strong, they’ve completely different disposal choices.

Most strong HHW, together with batteries and fluorescent bulbs, has been categorised as universal waste. This means relaxed assortment and storage necessities that enable retailers to gather this stuff for secure disposal. For instance, Home Depot and Lowe’s settle for used compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), Best Buy and Staples gather electronics, and most digital retailers settle for rechargeable batteries and cell telephones.

Liquid HHW is one of the most frequently banned materials from landfills in America, so it’s best to discover a secure disposal possibility. Unfortunately, solely native municipalities will supply free assortment. If your group doesn’t supply HHW assortment (corresponding to most cities in Georgia), some companies, corresponding to Clean Harbors and Waste Management, settle for it for a payment.

Check together with your native waste administration program for directions for the correct disposal of HHW.

5. When can I eliminate HHW?

Some communities function everlasting HHW amenities the place you’ll be able to take it year-round. Use Earth911’s recycling database to seek out one close to you. These amenities are sometimes residency restricted, which suggests you’ll be able to’t use the group’s facility until you reside there.

In smaller cities, HHW assortment is dealt with only some instances per 12 months (usually, spring or fall) or as soon as per quarter. Usually, cities put up HHW assortment dates in utility payments or on Nextdoor.

If you have got unused medicines, the Drug Enforcement Agency has you coated. It operates two annual Prescription Drug Take Back Days. The subsequent one is on October 23, 2021. Some police and hearth stations additionally settle for these year-round.

6. What occurs to HHW?

Some types of family hazardous waste could be recycled. If you reside in California, chances are you’ll be accustomed to the acronym ABOP, which stands for “antifreeze, batteries, oil, and paint.” All of those merchandise are recyclable, in addition to aerosol cans, CFLs, mercury thermostats, and oil filters.

HHW that isn’t recycled or reused is usually incinerated by a course of that considerably limits the discharge of pollution into the air. Scrubbers gather emissions on the incinerator smokestack, in accordance with EPA guidelines.

Take the time to eliminate family hazardous waste correctly. It will shield your loved ones and property from contamination and enhance the native atmosphere.

Originally revealed on August 29, 2018, this text was up to date in August 2021.