Every household has a few products that are considered hazardous waste—that can’t be thrown in the trash or down the drain due to the threat they pose to people and the environment. And so, many of these products sit on shelves and in cupboards, gathering dust. Over time, the products can cause deteriorating hazardous containers, potentially causing anything from an annoying spill to a real danger to your household. Learn more about why this happens, warning signs, and how to deal with these household hazardous products.
What Makes Household Product Containers Deteriorate?
The issues behind container damage and deterioration are often due to one of two base causes: improper handling and storage or age of the container. It’s important to read the labels of your household products not only to check for any dangers but for storage and container replacement warnings as well. While aging containers can deteriorate, the most common issues are either storing the container in the improper place (often temperature or weather exposure) or the replacement container not being made of the right materials. Our Fact Sheets page has plenty of info on common household products.
Hazardous Containers Warning Signs to Watch Out
It’s always a good idea to take inventory of all your hazardous products at home and make sure they are in intact containers. This is also a good time to take inventory of what you can dispose of, as well as making sure everything is child-safe if you’ve got inquisitive youths at home:
- Stains and Leaks: Look for stains on the container or signs of leaks, such as pooling or sticking to surfaces.
- Improper Seals: If there is a strong odor emanating from the container it may be a sign of a broken seal.
- Corrosion and Rust: If in a metal container, look for discoloration and deterioration, especially in wet environments.
- Cracks or Flaking: Especially for plastic containers, look for signs of cracking, flaking, and delamination, especially in old containers.
Handling & Replacing Hazardous Containers
As mentioned above, the best way of finding the right container to replace the current deteriorating one is by checking the label on the container. If that doesn’t help, there are many resources online that can help you troubleshoot products. For Massachusetts residents, there is the Mass.gov Safely Manage Hazardous Household Products page with tons of info on common hazardous materials for residents.
If it’s time to finally dispose of these household products, either due to unsafe containers, age, or simply to free up some room, one of our NEDT Collection Centers can help. Learn more about what we accept and check out our video tour of what to expect. For more information, including about our pick-up services, and to answer any questions, contact us.