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.
HHW Reduction, Reuse, Recycling, and Disposal OptionsThe options of reduction, reuse, recycling, and disposal are all important tools to safely manage HHW. The following information can help you determine the best ways to reduce, reuse, or dispose of common household products that may contain hazardous ingredients.
Benefits of Proper HHW Management
- Reduction and recycling of HHW conserves resources and energy that would be expended in the production of more products.
- Reuse of hazardous household products can save money and reduce the need for generating hazardous substances.
- Proper disposal prevents pollution that could endanger human health and the environment.
Reduction at Home
Consider reducing your purchase of products that contain hazardous ingredients. Learn about the use of alternative methods or products—without hazardous ingredients—for some common household needs.
To avoid the potential risks associated with household hazardous wastes, it is important that people always monitor the use, storage, and disposal of products with potentially hazardous substances in their homes. Below are some tips for individuals to follow in their own homes:
- Use and store products containing hazardous substances carefully to prevent any accidents at home. Never store hazardous products in food containers; keep them in their original containers and never remove labels. Corroding containers, however, require special handling. Call your local hazardous materials official or fire department for instructions.
- When leftovers remain, never mix HHW with other products. Incompatible products might react, ignite, or explode, and contaminated HHW might become unrecyclable.
- Remember to follow any instructions for use and disposal provided on product labels.
- Call your local environmental, health, or solid waste agency for instructions on proper use and disposal and to learn about local HHW drop off programs and upcoming collection days.
Disposal OptionsCertain types of HHW have the potential to cause physical injury to sanitation workers, contaminate septic tanks or wastewater treatment systems if poured down drains or toilets, and present hazards to children and pets if left around the house. Federal law allows disposal of HHW in the trash. Call your local environmental, health, or solid waste agency for the time and location of your HHW collection program. Also, read product labels for disposal directions to reduce the risk of products exploding, igniting, leaking, mixing with other chemicals, or posing other hazards on the way to a disposal facility. Even empty containers of HHW can pose hazards because of the residual chemicals that might remain.
- Artist and model paints
- Car wax containing solvents
- Chemical fertilizers
- Drug, medicines and pharmaceuticals
- Fungicides, herbicides, weed killers
- Latex, oil or water-based paints
- Nail Polish and nail polish remover
- Pet products, flea collars, flea sprays
- Rat, mouse, snail and slug poisons
- Roach and ant killers
- Abrasive cleaners, souring powders
- Ammonia, bleach-based cleaners
- Car batteries
- Chlorine bleach
- Disinfectant and oven cleaners
- Drain openers and cleaners
- Glass and window cleaners
- Photographic and pool chemicals
- Rug and upholstery cleaners
- Toilet bowl cleaners
- Air fresheners
- Coin, floor, furniture or shoe polish
- Enamel or oil-based paints
- Engine cleaners and degreasers
- Furniture and paint strippers
- Gasoline and diesel fuel
- Hair spray, deodorants
- Motor oil, transmission fluid
- Paints and primers
- Rug and upholstery cleaners
- Rust paints
- Solvent-based glues
- Solvents for cleaning firearms
- Spot removers
- Stains and varnishes
- Wood preservatives