There are chemicals around the home that are toxic to people and the environment known as hazardous waste. Hazardous waste is anything that is toxic, flammable, volatile, corrosive, or reacts with other substances to become dangerous.
Examples of these would be oven cleaners, floor wax, paint, and polish. Checking all labels will help you decide if the item is hazardous or not. If the item contains lye, phenols, petroleum, distillates, or trichlorobenzene, then it probably is hazardous.
Many products used in a home such as soaps, cleaners, etc., are meant to be poured down the drain. These will biodegrade if the waste water is properly treated and cause no issues within the environment. The best way to avoid having to dispose of hazardous waste is to avoid buying it.
There are a number of alternatives with less toxic chemicals. When you feel you must use a certain product containing hazardous chemicals, you should only purchase as much as you need. Read the label and follow the directions for use, storage, and disposal.
Home maintenance products are among the most hazardous chemicals used in the home. Examples are paints, preservatives, strippers, and solvents. There are varying degrees of danger. For example latex or water-based paints are less toxic than oil and enamel paints but still should be disposed of properly.
All left over products and empty containers should be disposed of as per the label on the item. These items should never be poured down the drain or into storm drains.
Things You Can Do
- Buy only the amount you need.
- Contact the county or municipality for the locations of hazardous waste disposal sites.
- Do not pour hazardous products down the storm drains. What enters the drains flows right into the water body and does not go through a water treatment plant.
- Make sure all hazardous materials are used, stored, and disposed of properly. Read the label.
- Try to use natural or less toxic alternatives.