Safely Managing Household Hazardous Waste

Household Hazardous Waste

When we think of dangerous or toxic waste products, we generally think of the products that factories produce that are harmful to the environment. But did you know that there are a number of household hazardous waste products that we use every day that could be destroying the ozone layer and our health?

What is meant by Household Hazardous Waste

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) refers to any waste generated from the use of products in households that are potentially harmful to human health or the environment.

What is Household Hazardous Waste?

For instance, if you have just finished a home improvement project, and leave certain items like paint or glue around for a long period of time, the fumes could irritate your nasal passages, and could even cause skin irritation and breathing problems.

Even things like furniture cleaners, cooking oils, or pesticides can be considered household hazardous waste, so you’ll need to be very careful when you’re disposing of these items.

HHW includes a wide range of materials, such as

  • Obsolete Home Electronics – Cell phones, Computers, Monitors, Televisions, and other electronic gadgets that can contain toxic materials such as lead and mercury
  • Household Batteries or Car Batteries
  • Insecticides, Herbicides and Pesticides, all of which contain toxic chemicals
  • Household Cleaning Products – Bleach, Ammonia, Drain Cleaners, and other cleaning agents that may be toxic, corrosive, or flammable
  • Paint and Solvents – Latex and Oil Based Paints, Paint Thinners, Paint Stripper, White Spirit, Turpentine and Paint Brush Cleaners
  • Car Products – Motor Oil, Oil Filters, Antifreeze and other Automotive Fluids
  • Pool and Hot Tub Chemicals
  • Garden Chemicals and Weedkillers
  • Aerosol Cans

Due to their hazardous nature, these materials require proper disposal to prevent harm to people, animals, and the environment.

Household Hazardous Waste Disposal

HHW should not be thrown in the regular trash or poured down the drain, as this can lead to pollution of landfills, groundwater, and other water sources. Instead, they should be disposed of through appropriate channels, such as community hazardous waste collection programs or other approved methods.

On the Job - Household Hazardous Waste Facility

It is probably a good idea to place the discarded items in a separate trash bag, and drive them to your neighborhood’s recycle center if possible. The longer these substances stay in your house, the more they could irritate the nervous or respiratory systems. This is especially dangerous if you have small children living in the house.

Another great way to make sure that your home is not contaminated by household hazardous waste is to purchase cleaning products that are all-natural.

Many times, the synthetic cleansers in bathroom and tile sprays, laundry detergents, and paints and finishing solutions can harm the environment quickly, and make children and adults very sick. If you are using household products that contain natural plant and flower oils, it is less likely that you will experience red eyes, skin rashes, or shortness of breath while cleaning or disposing of cleaning materials.

In the US, brands such as Seventh Generation and Jason have great natural and organic household cleaners that you may want to try.