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HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

When one hears the words “hazardous waste,” one might think of medical waste, oil spills and dangerous chemicals. Though these are, indeed, hazardous wastes, there are others that are much more common to everyday households.

According to the EPAleftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients are considered to be household hazardous waste (HHW). Such products, including paints, cleaners, oils, batteries and pesticides, contain potentially hazardous ingredients and require special care to dispose of them properly.

Improper disposal of HHW can include pouring the products down the drain, on the ground, into storm sewers and tossing them out in the trash. The dangers of such disposal methods might seem trivial, but improper disposal of these wastes can pollute the environment and threaten human health.

Shelby County operates its own hazardous waste facility and offers an informative web page to educate residents about the dangers of HHW. The site lists ways to reduce and recycle hazardous wastes, and includes the following suggestions:

  • Purchase and use only the amount of product you need.
  • Try to find materials that are less toxic to replace hazardous products.
  • Share leftover materials with neighbors, donate them to business charities or government agencies or turn them over to the hazardous waste facility. This can include paint, pesticides, and more.
  • Give old car batteries to auto shops, as they have the ability to reuse them.

Make sure to play it safe when dealing with household hazardous wastes – you will be protecting the health of sanitation workers, wastewater treatment systems, your family, your pets and the community as a whole.