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Good Green Earth: Proper Disposal of Toxic Materials


Meghan Belnap

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Toxic waste consists of products that can cause illness or death to humans, animals or plants. Proper disposal of household toxic waste can prevent that waste from entering our air, soil and water. It also helps protect waste workers from illness and/or injury from toxic materials. Here's what you can do around your house to properly dispose of toxic substances.

Liquid Toxic Household Waste

There are a wide variety items that can be classified as liquid toxic hazardous household waste (HHW). Liquid HHW can be in the form of paint, weed killer, anti-freeze, oil, bleach, cleaning solutions and polishes. Some can even cause a fire or explosion. Your state environmental protection agency will have a list of hazardous household substances on its website. You never want to pour these down a drain to dispose of them. They'll only enter the ground and water supply again. They'll also eat your plumbing from the inside. Check labels for disposal instructions.

Solid Toxic Household Waste

Solid toxic household waste can consist of batteries, computers, printers, electronics and cell phones. Don't just throw these things in the garbage. There's a place where they can go to die. When not disposed of properly, they can also be harmful. Toxic chemicals in them can leach into the groundwater and pollute lakes and streams.

Proper Disposal

Most municipalities have their own HHW facilities for their residents. Their websites will tell you what are and are not acceptable products. They're quite liberal with how much waste product they'll take at no charge. They have separate facilities for disposal of computer and other electronic equipment. You can take those things there. Some products like paint, oil and acetone might even be recycled back to the consumer at no cost if unused or only slightly used.

Prescription Drugs

Flushing unused prescription drugs down the toilet only puts them in the water supply. Local drug take-back programs are available through local municipalities for safe disposal of medications. You can phone your governmental recycling office for information on drug take-back programs in your community.

Don't be a hoarder of HHW. It's very easy to get rid of these toxic materials responsibly. Take it to a facility near you, like King Recycling & Waste Disposal Inc, as they are ready to help you with your waste. They're pleased to take your HHW, the service is free, and you'll be participating in your personal part of preserving our health, safety and environment.

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