Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Household Hazardous Waste and What You Do If You Find It

By Steve D Evans 

Household hazardous waste materials include many things that you probably are storing right now in your garage, basement, bathroom, or kitchen. Some, like paint thinner or car batteries, are pretty obvious, but there are many that you might not ordinarily think of such as polishes, insecticides, mercury thermometers and glues. Household garbage should be contained in in your Town-provided rollout cart. Please seal garbage in plastic bags.

Hazardous Household Waste is defined as items containing ingredients that could be harmful to humans, pets or the environment. These include common items found in many households, such as cleaning products, paint, and garden chemicals.
Hazardous waste is mostly produced by industry where strict legislation is imposed on these processes due to their hazardous emissions such as heavy metals, but the household presence of this material can be dangerous too.

Hazardous waste is a particular class of "solid" waste (which includes solid, liquid, or gaseous material) which, if improperly managed, poses a substantial threat or potential hazard to human health and the environment. Typical wastes generated at many factories include, but are not limited to: spent solvents, waste laboratory chemicals, waste paints and used oil. Some of these will be hazardous and others not, so the skill is in ensuring that all are properly disposed of in the right manner.
Hazardous waste is a term applied to those wastes that because of their chemical reactivity, toxicity, explosiveness, corrosives, radioactivity or other characteristics, constitutes a risk to human health or the environment. Such wastes maybe generated as a by-product in the manufacturing processes or maybe generated from the use of various catalysts, which need to be disposed off when spent.
The European Commission has issued a Directive on the controlled management of such waste (91/689/EEC) and hazardous waste is defined on the basis of a list, the European Waste Catalogue, drawn up under that Directive. Hazardous waste is generated by all sectors of society, from large industry, to small businesses, households, schools and farms. It is for the most part managed by the professional hazardous waste industry and is treated appropriately and in accordance with legal requirements.

If you think that a material may be hazardous ask to see the Material safety data sheets (MSDSs) or CSSH sheets containing the risk data for that material. These datasheets are a commonly used source of information for this analysis. If a material is chemically unchanged (e.g., uncontaminated ink), the MSDS would be representative of the material as a waste. Materials that are not going to be used (mixed or concentrated) shall be managed in accordance with the instructions on the specific guidelines issued by the supplier.

Regulations require a permit for the transport of hazardous waste on public roads. Discharging hazardous wastes and chemicals in sinks is prohibited by waste water regulations in most nations.
Regulations were adopted in 1991 pertaining to the transportation of non-hazardous waste within the State of Maine. Unless exempt, all vehicles and/or containers transporting non-hazardous waste within the state must have a license. In the UK there are regulations under what is called the duty of care which apply to the transport of all waste materials, and are particularly important in tracking hazardous waste materials to ensure proper disposal takes place.
Household waste is exempted from being regulated as hazardous waste in most nations. Nevertheless, it should not be disposed of indiscriminately. Households, small businesses, farms and the healthcare and construction sectors also generate large quantities of hazardous waste including batteries, electrical equipment, healthcare risk waste, solvent based paint, varnish waste, sheep dip and fluorescent lamps.

Garbage, and garden waste for composting will usually be collected weekly, while recycling rubbish will continue to be collected bi-weekly. Special collection is needed for large amounts of hazardous waste such as asbestos, and special regulations apply to dealing with such which must always be done by qualified experts.
Hazardous waste should never be disposed of with regular household waste, unless the containers are completely empty, as they can cause harm to people and to the environment. This includes used batteries, leftover pesticides, or cleaning products. Always seek advice from an expert unless you are certain of the material and how to safely dispose of it.
Take care because these things can be hazardous to you, hazardous to your family and hazardous to our environment if not used up or disposed of properly.
Disposing of household chemicals in your trash is dangerous. When mixed, household chemicals such as bleach and ammonia cause poisonous gases and fumes or cause fires. Dispose with normal curbside garbage. Residents are asked to remove the lid and allow the paint to dry up before placing on the curb.

Hazardous household waste should not be disposed of in the same way as regular waste. For example, a gasoline drum buried in the ground can affect rivers and find its way into drinking water.
In some countries and states hazardous waste was collected at home or at receiving stations (bring/drop off-sites) in one country this applied to 415 municipalities in 2001. The corresponding figure for 1997 was 136. Hazardous products have four classifications: flammable , poisonous , corrosive and reactive (explosive). Federal law requires that products with hazardous ingredients be labeled.

Household hazardous wastes may also, subject to special arrangements in some states be collected by special waste collection vehicles, which tour in the metropolitan area.
So, take advice from your local waste officer, but if you have very small amounts of hazardous material in your household waste you probably can discard it in your household rubbish for collection. Any larger amount as we have said already must be discussed with your waste expert locally. All local laws must be complied with.

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