Chemical waste, industrial sludge, radioactive slurry—when you think of hazardous waste, these are likely at least some of the items that come to mind. You may think that there is nothing you have at your home that could qualify as hazardous. There are, however, some items that you should not throw away with your other household waste. While most of these items do not pose much of hazard to you, your children, or pets, they can pose an environmental risk, so they must be handled properly.
The batteries you use in your home can contain cadmium, lead, and mercury. While safely inside your batteries, these chemicals pose no danger to you or your household, but when mixed in with your other household trash and buried, they can leak. Not only can these chemicals pose a problem for the animals and insects that live in the area around where they are buried, but they can leak into the ground water and pose a problem for the human population. Thus, you should keep batteries separate from the rest of your trash and dispose of them at a waste facility that is prepared to handle batteries.
Holding onto medicines that you are no longer using is not a good idea. They may sit in your cabinet and tempt teenage children to try them, they can go bad, and they are only safe when taken according to your pharmacist's recommendations. Thus, when you have extra medication on hand, you need to dispose of it. Flushing medicine down the toilet or throwing it away allows the chemicals it contains to leak into the water supply. Thus, you should look into a take-back service at your local pharmacy or take it to a waste disposal facility that can handle medications.
It used to be that you only had to worry about the long fluorescent light tubes, but with the advent of energy-efficient bulbs, it is entirely likely that you have fluorescent bulbs in the fixtures around your house. These tubes contain mercury, which is a poison. Thus, whether the tube is intact or not, you should keep fluorescent bulbs away from your other trash.
As a responsible homeowner, it is your responsibility to protect your local environment. If you do not take the proper steps to dispose of potentially hazardous products in the proper way, you are only hurting yourself, your children, pets, neighbors, community—in other words, is better to take steps to prevent problems rather than deal with the health risks they can cause. When you have gathered a load of potentially hazardous items, you can either call your waste disposal service to schedule a pick up or take the items to a collection yourself. Some communities will have drop-off stations. In any case, you should be able to find an option that allows you to dispose of hazardous items in a safe way with minimal inconvenience, so there is no reason not to do your part to protect your local environment.
For more information, talk to a local company like Mountain Waste & Recycling.