How much hazardous waste does the average American household accumulate in one year? The typical home accumulates over 20 pounds of household hazardous waste in just one year! Think of paints, pesticides, cleaning supplies, oil, antifreeze and other products that hide away in the basement, garage or shed. These products may contain corrosive, toxic or flammable ingredients. If products are dumped outside or stored in an area where rain or floodwater can reach them, they can be washed into storm drains, rivers and streams, and even well water, putting our water quality at risk.
Viewer Tip: Take a few minutes during spring cleaning to make sure you’re properly storing and disposing of household hazardous wastes.
- Store products in their original containers with labels to avoid misuse or accidental ingestion.
- Never mix leftovers with other products – this may cause reactions or explosions. Mixing products may also make it so they cannot be recycled.
- If you no longer need a product, take it to a local household hazardous waste collection program. Many communities hold regular waste collection events and have hazardous waste drop-off centers. Never dump household waste outside or in a storm drain.
Photo courtesy of EPA.
(Sources: U.S. EPA. “Household Hazardous Waste.” http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/materials/hhw.htm; http://www.epa.gov/region9/waste/solid/house.html)