This week I'm going to talk to you about household hazardous waste - it's a topic that in my opinion doesn't get enough attention.
Have you ever taken a look around your house and noticed all the bottles or cans of stuff you have? Whether it's under the kitchen sink, under the bathroom sink, in the bathroom closet, or the garage the typical household is full of bottles of various liquids. Believe it or not, a large percentage of those liquids can be considered hazardous waste when it comes time to get rid of it.
In addition to the liquids, there are other things in your home that can also be considered hazardous. Hazardous waste, as defined by the US EPA is "a waste with properties that make it dangerous or potentially harmful to human health or the environment".
A brief list of "hazardous" items you might have:
- Fluorescent Lamps
- Drain Cleaners
- Oil Paint/Stain
- Motor Oil (that's an obvious one!)
- Ballasts (these are typically found on light fixtures that use fluorescent lamps)
- E-Waste (VCRs (umm...how many people still have one of these?), DVD Players, computers, etc)
Here is a great article from Earth 911 that can help you determine what in your house is in fact considered household hazardous waste.
So, now that we've sorted out what the hazardous waste is, how do you get rid of it?
It seems the answer to that question all depends on where you live. Most towns and cities in Massachusetts hold an annual or bi-annual hazardous waste drop off day. Some municipalities actually have drop off centers available to them where you can go once or twice a month (the ideal set-up in my opinion because really how many people think to set aside all their hazardous waste stuff all year?).
The Massachusetts DEP website has some useful links if you're looking for more information or places to drop stuff off.
Here are a few links to the pages I found most helpful:
Hazardous Waste Collection Centers
List of Town Website Links
Last Words: For my parting words I'll say the following: Whatever you do, do NOT pour these liquids down the drain, it pollutes our groundwater and is bad for us and the environment. Let's do our best to keep these hazardous wastes out of our landfills and out of our trashcans!