Household Hazardous Waste
What is Household Hazardous Waste? Basically, it’s anything in your house that is poisonous, corrosive, flammable or explosive. And, like all hazardous waste, it should be kept out of the landfill and disposed of properly.
Why it matters
Why dispose of Household Hazardous Waste properly? Well, when not disposed of properly, hazardous waste can harm the health and safety of you and your family, sanitation workers, municipal infrastructure and the environment we all share.
If improperly disposed, poisonous materials can contaminate soil and water. They can also result in illness or death if swallowed or inhaled by humans, pets or wildlife.
If dumped down drains, corrosive materials can corrode plumbing and contaminate marine environments. They can also burn exposed skin, eyes, and respiratory and digestive tracks.
Flammable materials catch fire easily if near heat, flames or sparks. When ignited, flammable materials release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere that may resettle as acid rain.
Explosive materials are extremely reactive and can explode if heated or punctured. These materials can cause injury to anyone handling the garbage.
Spot the hazards in your home
Some household waste items are easy to spot: cleaners, batteries and engine oil, for instance, are commonly known to be hazardous and are easily recognized by their warning labels. But don’t be fooled: some household waste items are less obvious.
Choose from the categories below to learn how you can help protect yourself and the health and well-being of our communities and environment by putting hazardous waste in its place.
Unmarked container? Label no longer visible? Don’t leave it to chance — treat it as hazardous waste.
What you can do
1. Choose safer alternatives
What’s the best way to manage household hazardous waste? Easy! Bring less into your home. There are plenty environmentally-friendly alternatives for everything from household cleaners to garden care products that are better for the environment and safer for you and your family.
2. Store it safely
If stored improperly, hazardous products can cause some serious harm. Mixing chemicals or storing them in close proximity is a quick and easy way to create poisonous gas, fires or explosions. To avoid this, read labels, follow instructions and always heed warnings.
SAFETY AND SAFE HANDLING FIRST:
- Keep materials in their original, labeled containers.
- Avoid mixing different products together.
- Seal all containers tightly.
- Transport materials in the trunk of your car.
- Carry materials in an open-topped box.
- Wear protective gloves.
3. Dispose of it properly
Friendly reminder: Hazardous materials do NOT belong with regular household garbage. If you must use hazardous products, then you must also practice safe disposal. Regional waste management authorities offer drop-offs and collection events where you can bring hazardous products from your home. Find your nearest drop-off site.
Just to recap: Burning hazardous waste, throwing it away and pouring it down the drain can cause significant harm to people, animals and our environment.