Household Hazardous Waste Disposal
Do you have a "mystery shelf" in the back of your garage,
basement, attic or shed? If so, you aren't alone. Many homeowners
with clogged drains, an ant issue in the kitchen, a patch of
crabgrass in the yard or rooms requiring paint touch ups tend to
try a bit of this, a spray of that and all of the sudden, their
"mystery shelf" accumulates bottles of expired DIY products,
homemade remedies and unknown substances.
What happens to these products (also known as
Household Hazardous Waste) on the mystery shelf? Leaving them
around poses a potential threat to children and pets. But these
products should not simply be poured down a drain, emptied into the
backyard or thrown away in the weekly trash. Doing so can
contaminate groundwater, drinking water and soil, and the improper
disposal of these DIY products can create landfill buildup and
pollution. At a time when being environmentally sensitive is more
important than ever before, homeowners often have little - if any -
information on the proper Household Hazardous Waste disposal at
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends
the following tips for proper Household Hazardous Waste
- 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.