While many household products and waste can easily be stored, recycled, drained, or thrown away, there are certain materials and items due to their impact on the environment, human health, and often both that have to be handled differently. It’s important to be able to identify and deal with hazardous waste at home to keep your family safe and not get into hot water due to improper disposal.
Identifying Household Hazardous Waste
The following three categories are a good start, but there are many edge cases and additional hazards. Make sure to always read the warning labels on the products you purchase to learn more.
- Hazardous Chemicals: Includes strong liquid and solids, such as the “-icides” like herbicides and pesticides, concentrated bases or acids, oxidizers like pool chemicals, and specialized and heavy-duty cleaning agents. Also, automotive fluids like gasoline and motor oils. Hazardous products are usually identified on labels with signal words such as flammable, combustible, corrosive. causes burns, poisonous, or toxic.
- Binding Elements: Industrial adhesives to commercial-grade glue and everything in between, especially heavy-duty varieties like petroleum-based driveway sealers. Paints and stains can also fit in this category: things you don’t want in the garbage.
- Electronics and eWaste: Many electronics contain dangerous amounts of hazardous materials, including heavy metals like lead. Old CRT monitors and fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, and batteries can contain acids and heavy metals like mercury and cadmium.
Want to learn more? Check out NEDT’s What We Accept page for our Collection Centers.
Disposing of Hazardous Waste
Depending on the type of risk it poses and local laws, you may or may not be able to safely dispose of household hazardous waste at home. Many cannot be poured down the drain or thrown into the trash due to health and environmental issues. As mentioned above, many products will include handling instructions. Online resources, such as our state’s MassDEP website or our own Fact Sheets, are a great place to start about handling and disposal.
While some local and state services provide some help with household hazardous waste disposal, many departments and community events to help with hauling and disposing of these products have been canceled recently. NEDT’s Household Hazardous Products Collection Centers can help by providing quick and safe service for all your needs, including a pick up service! Contact us today to learn more, including what to bring in. You can also call us at 866-769-1621.