Thursday, July 17, 2014

Household Hazardous Waste Collection

The handling and disposal of Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) has become quite a conundrum over the past couple decades. Items that used to be thrown into the trash, poured down the drain, or dumped in the grass have been proven to pose a health threat when disposed of improperly. 

Products that are considered HHW are safe when used according to the manufacturer’s instructions, but become hazardous when they are thrown away in a manner that may leach chemicals into the soil or groundwater.

By Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) definition, "leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients are considered to be household hazardous waste (HHW). Products, such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides, that contain potentially hazardous ingredients require special care when you dispose of them."

Improper disposal of HHW can include pouring them down the drain, on the ground, into storm sewers, or in some cases putting them out with the trash. The dangers of such disposal methods might not be immediately obvious, but improper disposal of these wastes can pollute the environment and pose a threat to human health.

Most recycling centers request that items in the recycling bin be clean and free of food residue and debris. Since many of the items that are considered Household Hazardous Waste cannot effectively be cleaned to the point of being free of contaminants without specialized intervention, they require a different type of handling and processing.

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