Most of us are probably aware that we shouldn’t throw old batteries away in our garbage can. But, were you aware that products like used hairspray cans, unused paint and even some types of light bulbs pose a risk to the environment? Do you, as a homeowner, know what to do with your old paint, aerosols, batteries and cleaners – also known as Household Hazardous Waste?
One common way of properly disposing of these products is to take them to your local Household Hazardous Waste collection event. Greer has proudly served communities all over the Southeast in these events. Most recently, we served as a transporter and technical consultant at such an event in Florida.
What is Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)?
The US EPA defines household hazardous waste as leftover household products that can catch fire, react or explode under certain circumstances, or that are corrosive or toxic. You would probably be surprised at all the items in your home that fall under this definition. If you are unsure about a product, check the label for warnings words such as “Caution”, “Warning”, “Danger” or “Poison.” Product labels should provide further information. If you are still unsure, your best bet may be to contact the manufacturer.
Safety is always a concern at a HHW event. Our experience and knowledge of waste handling and segregation is always an invaluable resource at these events. With so many different types of waste being dropped off by community members, it is imperative to have a proficient team on-site to properly (and safely) characterize, segregate and package containers. Navigating waste regulations is our specialty. Applying our specialty to assist communities is our privilege!
EPA’s Safer Choice Program
The best way to manage HHW is to not generate it in the first place. As such, the EPA created a program to help provide consumers with more environmentally responsible options. The EPA Safer Choice Program website (linked here) provides a wealth of information and news about safer options for consumer use. Another simple way to cut down on HHW is to only buy what you need. If you only need to paint a couple of spots, buy a pint instead of a gallon. Some simple choices can save headaches down the road!
Need More Info?
Do you know the HHW solutions offered in your area? If not, you should call your local waste governmental agency. Some communities have annual events, designated collection days and/or drop-off sites dedicated for such waste. A quick web search may provide you with answers but some handy additional resources are provided below.