When you think of hazardous waste you probably think of industrial waste; however, there are household items that are hazardous waste as well. Certain products in your home can’t just be tossed in the garbage. They need to be disposed of properly because they can harm the environment, people, and animals. To make sure that you properly dispose of household items that are hazardous waste, the following list will give you a good idea of what you need to take to your local waste or recycling center for safe disposal.
I can’t tell you how many times I have pitched used batteries in the garbage, but now I know that batteries are one of the household items that are hazardous waste. Batteries have heavy metals like lead, mercury, cadmium, or nickel, which can cause environmental and health problems if they leach out of the batteries. Therefore, it is important to take your used batteries to a waste or recycling center that accepts them. Not only will the metals stay out of the landfill, they can also be reused!
2. Fluorescent Lights
Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) have begun to replace many regular light bulbs in homes because they are more energy efficient. While they are more energy efficient, they also contain mercury. When these bulbs burn out, they need to be taken to a recycling center where the mercury can be safely removed and recycled for more uses.
3. Lawn Fertilizer
Since lawn fertilizer is used to make grass grow, you may not think it can cause environmental problems, but it can. If lawn fertilizer gets into lakes or streams it can cause algal blooms and upset the balance of the aquatic ecosystem. If you have extra lawn fertilizer, don’t just pitch it. Take it to a waste facility that can dispose of it properly.
Antifreeze is a common chemical that is used in cars. It helps cars run efficiently, but it is toxic to people and animals. When you take antifreeze to a recycling center the contaminants can be removed and the antifreeze can be reused. Doing this is much better for the environment, and it keeps harmful chemicals away from people.
5. Motor Oil
Changing your own motor oil is a great way to save money, but you need to know how to dispose of the old motor oil. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “one oil change can contaminate one million gallons of fresh water – a year’s supply for 50 people.” Clearly, you don’t want motor oil contaminating the water supply, and taking it to a recycling center will prevent water contamination. Also, the oil can be refined into new oil to be used again!
6. Wood Stain and Paint
Staining a deck or painting walls is a great way to freshen up a house. However, stains and paints contain hazardous chemicals and need to be disposed of at a waste facility that accepts hazardous waste. Doing this will prevent harmful chemicals from being emitted into the air.
7. Nail Polish
Surprisingly the EPA considers nail polish a hazardous waste. This is due to the fact that nail polish has chemicals that can concentrate in animals and people causing cancer and/or developmental and reproductive problems. Don’t throw out your old nail polish, treat it as hazardous waste and take it where it can be properly disposed.
All of these common household items pose dangers to the environment, people, and animals. Therefore, it is important that you take steps to dispose of them properly. So, keep a hazardous waste basket that you can fill and take to a waste management facility. To find a waste management place that accepts hazardous waste in your area, go to search.earth911.com. Were you aware that there were household items that need to be treated as hazardous waste?