Household Hazardous Waste

Written by Shirley Parker
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Large cities, and some smaller communities, have set up regular collection schedules for households to rid themselves of hazardous waste that can't be put in the weekly trash. These collection centers are moved from one community building to another on a quarterly basis, so that the same people aren't driving the most miles to get to one of them. It would be more convenient for the householder if collections took place more often, but cities also have to look at the costs.

If it is raining hard, some collections are canceled, unless a local large employer has been willing to donate the use of a loading/unloading dock for the event. Computer and other electronic equipment can't be recycled if it's been drenched with water. Some other substances are dangerous when wet because of the resulting gases they emit.

On a good day, a collection staging area can resemble a field of oversized mushrooms with all the non-working computer monitors that have been turned in. So much electronic equipment is now being recycled that in 2005 states such as California will begin charging a fee, payable at purchase, to handle the recycling costs. Any retailer who does not collect the fee will face penalties.

Other Household Hazardous Waste

Other hazardous wastes that accumulate around the home include motor oil and filters from do-it-yourself auto mechanics, paints and solvents, batteries, television sets, household cleaners, and outdated over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Watch for hazardous waste collection days and turn them in. Unused drugs should be returned to the pharmacy. They cannot be resold but can be properly disposed of, instead of throwing them down the toilet where they may survive sewage treatment plants, eventually to poison ocean fish, especially if the aging sewage plant suffers yet another breakdown.

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