As much as 60 kg of hazardous waste is produced by one person in a year!
And in recent years, with an ever-growing population, the amount of waste generated has kept compounding. Out of all the types of waste, hazardous waste is the most complex to dispose of. Great care must be taken while throwing away hazardous items because they can lead to debilitating effects on one’s health if disposed of carelessly.
So, are you on the lookout for hazardous waste solutions for your home? If yes, then you’re in the right place because we’ve compiled this guide on the most effective ways for hazardous waste disposal. Read on to know more!
What Is Hazardous Waste?
Hazardous waste is usually a by-product of manufacturing activities, chemical production, and other fuel-reliant industrial processes. It can be in the form of a sticky sludge, a solid, a liquid, or even a gas.
Some common examples of hazardous waste are metal finishing wastes, runoff from water pollution control units, painting chemical wastes and cleaning solvents. Hazardous substances are either reactive, infectious, radioactive, or toxic to humans in some way.
Moving on, most household products aren’t hazardous if used correctly. But, if they aren’t properly stored, are used incorrectly, or are disposed of in unsafe ways, then they may turn hazardous.
Two common mistakes committed by homeowners are pouring hazardous waste down the drain or transferring it into a regular container and keeping it out with the rest of the trash. However, these should be avoided at all costs because if the waste manages to leak or seep into piping, then human health will be at risk.
How Should Hazardous Waste Be Disposed Of?
1. Follow The Instructions On The Product Labels
Many products, for instance, cleaning solvents, have detailed instructions on the label regarding their use and disposal. Thus, read the label carefully and follow the recommendations to the T.
2. Use Up As Much Of The Product As You Can
No product, no problem! If you use up the entirety of a chemical product, then there will be nothing left over as waste. But to make this happen, you must purchase only as much as you actually need. A larger bottle or a pack of 4 might save you money, but it could lead to disposal problems too, later.
Recycling refers to the reclamation of any future waste in order to make the product available for use again. When you recycle something, the overall volume of waste goes down. Contrary to popular belief, hazardous materials like paint thinner, transmission fluids and car oils can be recycled at home.
To recycle any potentially hazardous waste, find out if your neighbourhood is running or planning to run a collection drive. Apart from that, you can inquire about recycling at gas stations since they frequently accept oil and auto batteries for recycling.
If you have any leftover paint, cleaning liquid, or machine parts, you can consider donating them to any local charity, church or shelter. Even neighbours and theatre groups might be enthusiastic about getting unused products, so we recommend spreading the word that you’re looking to donate!
5. Carefully Throw It Away
Some landfills accept hazardous waste if special care is taken to dispose of such waste. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind:
- Wash the empty container that previously contained the hazardous product several times.
- Call the landfill first to confirm whether they receive hazardous waste.
- Use gloves while handling hazardous product containers and preferably wrap the empty container in some paper.
6. Flush The Product
This sounds risky but is actually a viable hazardous waste solution if you don’t have much of the product left. However, you’ll have to take certain things into consideration before doing so:
- The amount of the hazardous product should be more than the size of a cup.
- This method won’t work for people who have septic systems since this can kill useful microorganisms within the system.
- The wastewater should be eventually treated by a sewage treatment system and shouldn’t be flowing into any water body.
- The local wastewater treatment plant should be able to neutralise the toxins in that waste.
Once you’ve confirmed that all the aforementioned conditions are met, follow the following steps to dispose of the hazardous waste down the toilet:
- Ensure that the area is well-ventilated before you flush.
- Make sure that wherever you’re flushing is far away from the kitchen.
- Don’t pour it hastily; instead, go slow and try not to make it splash.
- Wear goggles and gloves to protect sensitive areas of your body.
- Flush for a considerable amount of time and ensure that none of the product remains in the toilet bowl.
- Wash the empty product container before binning it.
7. Give The Hazardous Waste To A Collection Drive
Local municipal bodies and community centres often organise collection drives in order to recycle waste. Residents of a particular community are usually notified about the date of the drive well in advance and are also provided with information on what types of waste will be accepted.
Once this waste is collected, it is treated/recycled/disposed of accordingly. So, if the drive allows for it, you can give away hazardous wastes such as brake fluids, adhesives, pesticides, kerosene, polishes, car batteries, smoke detectors, etc.
One way of combating the problem of hazardous waste is to reduce one’s consumption of it. That will not only lead to fewer safety hazards but will also mean lesser pollution and fewer environmental problems.
You can, additionally, try and buy a less toxic product if you have the choice. We also advise against mixing chemical products since that can create a toxic concoction that may harm you in ways you couldn’t even have thought of.
With this, we’ve reached the end of this guide. Until next time!