When you hear the term "hazardous waste," you may think of nuclear reactors or heavy-duty chemicals housed in a solid steel barrel. However, your own household likely generates a fair amount of hazardous waste each year, and you may be disposing of this waste improperly. Not only can this harm the environment, it may subject you to fines or other civil penalties. Read on to learn more about some common types of hazardous household waste, as well as how you can properly dispose of this waste.
If you've ever thrown a handful of old batteries in the trash, you'll want to avoid this in the future. All types of batteries -- from heavy car batteries to "button" batteries for hearing aids and watches to alkaline and lithium batteries for electronics -- are subject to strict regulations when it comes to their disposal. These batteries all contain various types of heavy metals, which can leach into the soil and nearby water when thrown into a landfill.
Most communities offer battery recycling at their waste disposal hub, and some private electronics stores offer this service as well. Simply placing your dead batteries in an old shoebox or baggie and dropping them off at the recycling center a few times a year can help avoid further contributing to this issue.
Paints and solvents
You probably already know that you should never throw oil or latex paints, solvents, and other paint-related products in the trash -- but you may be at a loss as to how to dispose of them. Oil-based paints and solvents (like mineral spirits and turpentine) are classified as hazardous household waste, and must be disposed of at a hazardous waste facility. Your community may offer annual or semi-annual collection days, or you may be able to find a facility near you that accepts this waste by searching on the internet.
Latex paints are easier to dispose of, and can be donated or recycled. If there is a community organization in your area that constructs homes or paints murals on public spaces, they may wish to accept your old or unused latex paint. In other situations, you can just leave the paint in a well-ventilated area with its lid off until it dries to a solid state, then throw the can in your household trash for pickup. If the amount of paint you have would make this option infeasible, you can actually paint thick layers onto a surface (like old newspapers or wood), then dispose of these items in your household trash once dry.
For additional information about properly disposing of hazardous materials, contact a waste management company, like B-P Trucking Inc.