How do you dispose of harmful household materials properly?

Hazardous wastes can have a dreadful effect on humans and animals at any time. We can find them in our homes, and there are many different ways to dispose of them. Some can be recycled, some can’t. Over the last two decades, the practices for the management of hazardous wastes have increased. So,

How do you dispose of harmful household materials properly?

There can be different types of hazardous household waste, as enlisted below.

Types of household hazardous waste

We have all probably generated harmful elements as waste in our houses. The disposal of these wastes can produce dangerous impacts. Hazardous household waste includes:

  • Petrol and kerosene
  • Swimming pool or spa bath chemicals
  • Computer equipment
  • Motor oils
  • Solvent-based paints
  • Thermometers, artificial lights, thermostats, fluorescent tubes, and bulbs
  • Polishing and Cleaning chemicals
  • Medicines
  • Pesticides and other garden chemicals (Rat poison)
  • Pool chemicals
  • Glues
  • Batteries (for example car, mobile phone or regular household batteries)
  • Mobile phones
  • Transmission fluid
  • Nail polish and its remover
  • Brake fluid
  • Fire extinguishers

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How should we handle and store hazardous household waste?

There are many ways we can adopt to store and handle hazardous household waste properly, such as:

  • Store the goods in original containers.
  • Never use a leaked container for the storage of hazardous material.
  • Never mix the chemicals.
  • Make sure that all hazardous products remain packed and properly labelled
  • Keep hazardous and dangerous things out of the reach of young children
  • Maintain the ignition source away from the storage area
  • Keep the storage area dry and cool
  • Don’t dispose of hazardous products openly

How to dispose of common harmful household materials properly?

The first step that should be taken for the disposal of household hazardous waste is to use community waste disposal sites. A special sealed container is the best option to transport this waste. Ideally, label the products properly before disposal.

However, if there are no options for disposal at community sites, then the following methods should be used for disposal of hazardous waste:

How to dispose of Automotive products?

Automotive products at home include fluids, antifreeze, oil filters, motor oil, and others.  You can recycle old oil at local distributors and auto-repair stations, dump antifreeze materials at waste disposal points or your local automotive repair shop, recycle batteries recycled in stores that sell them, and place fluids in a well-ventilated place so that they can evaporate within a few days.

How to dispose of Batteries?

Batteries in the house include batteries of electronics like remote control devices, car batteries, invertors’ batteries, etc. Alkaline batteries should be recycled by the community shops. Never dispose of batteries in high temperatures or on fire as they could explode. If there are waste batteries in large amounts at home, then contact the trash disposal company for disposal. The best thing is to use rechargeable batteries at home.

How to dispose of Electronics?

Electronics at home can include computers, laptops, mp3 players, printers, televisions, etc. Above all, they should be recycled rather than disposed of. For the recycling of these products, consumers should contact with recycling companies in the local area.

How to dispose of Fluorescent bulbs?

Fluorescent products like bulbs contain a small amount of mercury. This mercury can be hazardous. So these products should also be disposed of or recycled carefully. The best way to remove these products is to recycle them at local supply store sites.

How to dispose of household cleaners?

Household cleaners include ammonia, shower cleaner, drain cleaner, floor cleaner, and many others. Don’t store these materials and use them before the expiry date. Liquid and powder products can be disposed of with running water down the drain. Solid products should be disposed of at your local waste disposal facility.

How to dispose of Paint Products?

Paint products include all paint product stains and wood preservatives. To get rid of these products consider donating them to a relative, local school or another group. Some companies accept leftover paints. If that is the case, transport them to these companies for recycling.

How to dispose of Garden Chemicals?

Garden chemicals consist of pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides. Don’t store these chemicals! Also, do not dispose of these materials in the drain or stream, and rather do it in community sites.

How to dispose of Sharp items?

 Sharp items like needles and lancets can also be hazardous and dangerous. Make sure to keep them properly at home. In the case of the breakage of these materials, dispose of them at appropriate locations. Some manufacturers also sell destruction devices for these devices, so use those in case you have a high amount of materials.

How to dispose of Pharmaceuticals?

The other major hazardous waste material at homes is Medicines. Don’t flush medicines for disposal as they can contaminate groundwater. Many communities have “take-back” programs, so extra medicines can be returned to them. In case these options aren’t available, then consumers should mix these herbal or medicinal items with compost, kitty litter or used coffee grounds, put them in a bin like a sealed plastic bag and throw them away with the garbage.

Additionally, the FDA suggests that patients and caregivers get rid of expired drugs as soon as possible, as to minimize the risk that anyone can involuntarily take them or abuse them.

Above all, preventive measures must always be considered when disposing of such hazardous waste. Without these measures, we can face many problems, as discussed below.

Read more about solid waste management.

What happens when we do NOT dispose of harmful household materials properly?

Never put toxic household waste in daily collections of garbage, tip it down the drain, toilet or gutter or hide it in the field. When these wastes are not disposed of properly, consequences are:

  • Dangerous chemicals and arsenic may leach into soil or surface water. It will have long-term impacts on the earth, plants, and water.
  • Wastes can corrode pipes or obstruct stormwater drains and create water treatment plant problems.
  • These wastes could jeopardize the health and welfare of waste management staff.
  • This improper waste disposal can create an unpleasant litter issue. Plastic bags can move towards the water stream and harm biodiversity. Read more at Effects of Plastic Pollution in the Ocean

Conclusion on How to dispose of harmful household materials properly

A lot of products are dangerous and hazardous in our homes. These harmful materials can have very dangerous impacts, if not disposed of properly. Additionally, illegal dumping of these wastes can translate into serious offences by governmental agencies.

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