Our homes are filled with hazardous waste. This isn’t a cause for concern because most of this waste isn’t harmful to us. However, it is harmful to the environment and can pollute the air in our homes and eventually seep into the groundwater and soil. Dangerous household waste, or HHW (hazardous household waste), as it is commonly known, needs to be disposed of as soon as you’re done with them in order to avoid any problems.
Here are the most common dangerous household waste items:
These are your oven cleaners, drain cleaners, and wood and metal cleaners and polishes. These do not include soaps and other mild household cleaners but toilet cleaners; tub, tile and shower cleaners; bleaches and pool chemicals are included in this category of HHW.
If you have a problem with insects you’ve probably used some of the following HHWs like ant sprays and baits, cockroach sprays and baits, flea repellents and shampoos (for humans and pets), bug sprays, insecticides for houseplants, moth repellents, rat poison, and mouse traps and baits. Also, lawn and garden goods like herbicides, pesticides and fungicides count as HHWs.
Products that work on automobiles like motor oil, fuel additives, carburetor and fuel injection cleaners, starter fluids, antifreeze, transmission and brake fluid, automotive batteries, and air conditioning refrigerants are all considered dangerous household waste items.
Woodshop and painting supplies
If you have a workshop or art studio in your home, be aware that the following items are considered HHWs: adhesives and glues, furniture strippers, oil- or enamel-based paint, stains, finishes, paint thinners, turpentine, paint strippers/removers, fixatives and solvents, and photographic chemicals.
If it can make fire or catch on fire, it’s safe to say it’s considered a dangerous household waste item. Examples of flammable products are kerosene, home heating oil, diesel fuel, lighter fluid, gas/oil mix, and propane tanks and other compressed gas cylinders.
Batteries, mercury thermostats and thermometers, fluorescent light bulbs, and driveway sealer all fall under the miscellaneous category of dangerous household waste items.
How can you safely dispose of HHWs?
Some products can be thrown out as soon as they’re done. Read the label on the product and it should give you instructions on how to throw it away. Some items can go into your recycling bin, others go into the garbage. There are some HHWs that need to be taken to your city’s waste management facilities and disposed of separately. Visit your city’s waste management website to find out where the facilities are located and what items you need to bring there directly.