Protecting Public Health and the Environment.
Hazardous waste is waste with properties that make it dangerous or potentially harmful to human health or the environment. It can be liquids, solids, contained gases, or sludges. Household hazardous waste (HHW)is hazardous waste that is generated in a home rather than a business or organization. Americans generate 1.6 million tons of HHW each year.
Common HHW includes:
Read the product label and look for signal words. Signal words are found on labels of many different products, although older products may not list these words. Drugs and personal care products may be hazardous, but not all are required to have signal words.
HHW is sometimes disposed of improperly when it is poured down the drain, onto the ground, into the storm sewers, or put in the trash. Some household hazardous waste can injure sanitation workers, contaminate wastewater treatment systems, or leak out of landfills into ground water. Therefore, it is important to properly dispose of HHW.
Many communities have household hazardous waste disposal programs available for free to citizens. To find out if your community has such a program, contact your county solid waste department or landfill or city public works department. If your community does not have a program, perhaps you could help generate support to create one. Let your local officials know that diverting HHW is important to you. Even if your community does not have an official or all-inclusive program, many do recycle used oil, antifreeze, batteries, and refrigerators. Be sure to ask about the specific waste you have.
If your community does not have a program, other no-cost solutions are available for specific wastes. For example, local retail outlets may offer recycling of some hazardous wastes, such as compact fluorescent light bulbs, electronic equipment, and cell phones. Nonprofit organizations may be interested in leftover paint or used computers and monitors. If all else fails, call the manufacturer and see if it will recycle or properly dispose of the waste for you.
Consumer products such as old wrist watches with dials painted with radium or tritium or old household smoke detectors that use americium are exempt from federal and state radioactive materials disposal regulations and can be disposed in household trash because of low environmental and health risk. Contact your community household hazardous waste collection disposal program for more information. Learn more on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission website.
The very best solution to dealing with household hazardous waste is to not generate it in the first place. This can be achieved by
1410 N. HiltonBoise, ID 83706(208) 373-0502
Solid Waste & Emergency Response Program CoordinatorDean Ehlert(208) email@example.com
Pollution Prevention Projects CoordinatorBen Jarvis(208) firstname.lastname@example.org
EPA Guide to Household Hazardous Waste
Pollution Prevention for CitizensElectronic Waste