How to properly dispose of toxic items

Photo credit:  Moon Paper Stars

Photo credit: Moon Paper Stars

The dark days of winter are passing us by and small spring buds are burgeoning from the warming soil. It’s spring! Got that urge to clean? Yes? No? It’s a primitive call to action, I’m sure. Read more on spring cleaning in a previous blog post. One of the most commonly asked questions we receive it how to properly dispose of toxic items.  Here are our top tips to get this chore done easily.

  1. Identify toxic products. Oftentimes people don’t even realize when a product is toxic. Assume your item needs special disposal care if it’s got a toxic symbol, is ignitable, or is corrosive. Common items include:  paints, cleaners, oils, pool chemicals, batteries, and pesticides.
  2. Make a list. Yes, Mother’s advice to make a list was good! Walk through your home prior to spring cleaning day and jot down items that will need special handling/disposal.
  3. Contact your local government office. Every community is different, but the local government is always the contact for waste disposal services so start here. You will discover if the local transfer station or landfill accepts some of these items. You will also learn if there is a special pick-up service for hazardous waste. Finally you can ask for local contacts for disposal items that the city does not take care of.

If you are working with a local junk hauler, they should be able to refer you to local hazardous waste disposal facilities also.

Never, ever pour anything you suspect could be toxic down the sink or toilet. This practice can be very harmful to the local environment. Many city collection services do accept hazardous waste in the garbage; however, this is not a good solution either. One phone call and you should have most of the information you need to do the right thing. Feel good about your environmental practices, knowing you have not contributed to further pollution of our landfills.

Happy spring cleaning!