How to dispose of hazardous waste—waste that threatens public health or the environment—is an important thing for everyone in the community to know. Hazardous waste generally refers to those types of waste that are one or more of the following:
Virtually every home contains some items that should be considered hazardous. These include:
- Auto wastes like gas, antifreeze, oil filters and oil
- Pesticides and chemicals
- Electronics like computers, cell phones, MP3 players
- Medical supplies such as syringes
There are special techniques that must be used and special procedures that must be followed to eliminate hazardous wastes in a way that does pose a risk to public health and the environment. Below are some ways that hazardous materials are safely eliminated.
Burning at High Temperatures
When you take household hazardous waste to the proper location for disposal, it will often be destroyed by burning. Incineration can also destroy wastes that are flammable. Incinerator units have been developed that curtail emissions from burning hazardous waste.
Recycling, especially in the case of electronics, is environmentally prudent. Many products that you would not expect can be recycled, such as batteries from old cell phones as well as oil and oil products. Most cities and municipalities have information on their websites about what can and can’t be recycled at local facilities.
Community Hazardous Waste Centres
Most every municipality has a hazardous waste disposal centre. Find out the location of the most convenient one for you. A waste disposal company or local government office will be able to tell you where it’s located. Your community may have designated days for hazardous waste pickup. Before taking hazardous waste to a disposal depot or calling a waste disposal company to pick it up, make sure:
- Materials are in original containers or in well-labelled containers
- Products are not mixed together
- Caps are tight on all containers
Disposing of Medical Waste
Things like syringes and unused prescription drugs should be disposed of properly. Pharmacies usually have a drop box for used syringes and they will also take your unused prescription drugs for proper disposal. Never throw pills in the garbage, down the sink or flush them down the toilet. Doing so will not only adversely impact the environment, it can also corrode your plumbing. Household hazardous waste ending up in landfill sites may contaminate groundwater and soil through leaching, eventually making people, animals and plants unhealthy. So, it’s important this type of waste is disposed of properly.
Household hazardous waste should be disposed of in a timely fashion and not be allowed to pile up. For further information on getting rid of hazardous waste, call a waste disposal company, whose experts will be able to answer any questions you may have.