Owning a fire extinguisher is a mark of a safe and well-planned household, but it doesn’t stop there. Beyond reading the instructions and properly placing the extinguisher (or more likely multiple fire extinguishers if you’re following best practices), is the knowledge that your extinguisher has a shelf life and will need to be replaced. It’s time to learn more about why fire extinguishers expire and how to dispose of them when they do. [Read more…]
Whether it’s a can for the mower or a backup container for your car, at some point or another, we’ve all had one of those iconic red containers with some spare gas. However, that useful substance is also a hazardous product, and without properly storing gasoline at home – as well as handling and disposal – you’ll encounter risks to your home, health, and the environment. Learn what you need to know to deal with this hazardous household product.
Handling and Storing Gasoline at Home
It’s important always to remember that as a fuel, gasoline is inherently dangerous to you and your family.
- Gasoline is highly flammable and can be explosive. Store gasoline in approved, air-tight containers well away from children and pets, open flames, and sources of ignition.
- Gas contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs), especially from chemicals like benzene, a known carcinogen. Open in well-ventilated spaces.
- Do not store in your car’s trunk. These containers could break or be under threat of explosion from heat or impact during an accident.
How Gasoline Goes Bad
Like with many household products, gasoline can go bad. This can happen in two ways. First, gasoline can become contaminated, such as moved to an unclean container or left open near other products. Second is that gasoline has a shelf life, about six months for pure gas and three months for ethanol-blended gas (most US gas stations use “E10” gas that contains about 10% ethanol). In either situation, this gas should not be used and must be properly disposed of.
Disposing of Gasoline
Gasoline cannot be disposed of at home and shouldn’t be poured down the drain or thrown into the trash. This includes containers that have contained gasoline. You should also not mix gas with other automotive or chemical waste. Instead, gasoline is a Household Hazardous Product and needs to be disposed of at a community disposal event or a household hazardous waste collection center.
The NEDT Household Hazardous Products Collection Centers are just such a place. We’ve got multiple locations to help New Englanders dispose of gasoline and many other common hazardous products. Learn more about what we accept and educate yourself more on gasoline and other household hazardous products with our Fact Sheets. We also provide pick up services, including contactless services: contact us to learn more.
Our world runs on batteries, from the ones in our cars to those in our smartphones. Most people only think of them when they run out, but we should all think about how to handle and dispose of them to keep ourselves and our homes safe. Today, we’re going to look at household battery disposal, how to handle and store them, what hazardous household waste they can contain, and where you can dispose of them.
In New England, cold weather can make short work of automotive batteries for unwary drivers. Regardless, we all go through car batteries as they lose charge. If you do have to handle one, make sure to do so with acid-resistant rubber or leather gloves. Keep sparks, flames, and metal objects away from batteries, and cover any removed battery’s posts with electrical tape.
Do not throw car batteries in the trash, as they contain lead and sulfuric acid. Most vehicle battery retailers will accept used batteries when purchasing a new one. If your waste management company has a recycling center or a community household hazardous waste event, they usually take these there.
Car batteries may be the biggest, but you likely have dozens of batteries at home of various shapes and sizes, many of which contain hazardous materials. Make sure to know how to deal with consumer batteries of all kinds.
- Alkaline batteries: Most non-rechargeable batteries in the US today are alkaline batteries. These are safe to dispose of in the trash. They tend to leak potassium hydroxide once they lose charge. This can damage electronics and burn skin, so inspect batteries before handling them.
- Nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries: Commonly known as “rechargeable batteries” or NiCads, these batteries can be loose or built into electronics. They contain the hazardous metal cadmium and should not be thrown in the trash.
- Lithium batteries: Found in computer and camera electronics, including smartphones, lithium is a hazardous substance that is reactive to water and can cause fires. Do not throw them in the trash.
- Button batteries: These small batteries are often found in small devices like watches and hearing aids. Many button batteries contain mercury and should not be thrown in the trash. Many stores that sell those small products will accept spent button batteries.
For all batteries that can’t be disposed of in the trash, they should be stored safely in a secure, dry place out of the reach of children and pets. Make sure the container is non-metal and vented, and avoid mixing different kinds of rechargeable battery types. Store until the next available disposal event or take them to your local disposal center.
Here at the NEDT Household Hazardous Products Collection Centers, we believe that through knowing your disposal options and doing your research, we can all have safer, greener lives. If you’d like to learn more about how to deal with common household hazardous waste, check out our Fact Sheets. If you need help disposing of your household hazardous waste, find your closest location or contact us for pick up!
When you encounter a product you can’t pour down the drain or throw in the garbage to dispose of it, chances are you’ve got a hazardous household product. Depending on where you live, you’ve got different options. Below are the most common ways homeowners dispose of hazardous products they accumulate, including helpful links for Massachusetts residents for disposing of household products.
City and County Household Disposal Events
Many cities and county municipalities host events for disposing of household hazardous waste. These usually occur once or twice a year with set drop-off points. These can generally be found on your city’s website under their trash and recycling programs. Many have a restricted list of what they’ll accept or have weight limits, so make sure to review it ahead of time.
For residents of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has put together this page with handy links for city and town websites: https://www.mass.gov/lists/massachusetts-city-town-recycling-links
Note that due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, many events have been canceled until further notice.
Charity and Non-Profit Donation Programs
If you’ve got products that you don’t want but are still usable, such as CRT monitors, cleaning supplies, or construction materials like paint, you might check in with your local charities and other non-profits. Each program will take only certain things, but they can often help with pickup. Make sure everything you’re looking to provide is still safe for use.
For Massachusetts’ residents, MassDEP has put together a list of non-profit donation and reuse programs here: https://www.mass.gov/lists/donation-reuse
Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Facilities
If you can’t wait for the next community events and have waste that can’t be donated, it’s time to turn to garbage and disposal facilities.
- The Local Dump: While some products can be disposed of at home in the garbage, most “hazardous” household waste are products that can’t be thrown away. While larger items can be taken directly to your city’s dump, if it’s hazardous, it will be turned away.
- Disposal Programs: While it varies from city to city, some waste management companies also provide hazardous disposal services. These are usually on certain days, have restrictions, and have additional costs.
- Disposal Businesses: Residential hazardous disposal businesses are rare, but it’s always worth looking into them for increased convenience, including hours, pick-up services, and expanded lists of what they accept.
NEDT’s Household Hazardous Products Collection Centers came out of the desire to provide alternatives to the often complex and rare opportunities for residents to get hazardous products out of their homes. Our tagline is “Because Household Hazardous Waste Shouldn’t Be Difficult,” and we stand behind it. Learn what we accept and our locations and times, and make sure to reach out if you have any questions.