Too toxic for the trash!

There are some items that are not only wasted when they are thrown away, but they can also be toxic in the trash. Motor oil is a good example. Used motor oil is dirty and can be cleaned in a process called re-refining. So throwing it away is wasteful. But motor oil can also be dangerous if it is spilled or poured onto the ground, where it can end up polluting water and hurting fish, animals, and people. In collection trucks, it can put workers and other motorists in danger because it is combustible.

Items like used motor oil and other chemicals you no longer need are known as household hazardous waste or HHW, for short. HHW includes many items commonly found in and around our homes, such as paint, stain, paint thinner, motor oil, antifreeze, old gasoline or kerosene, pesticides and herbicides, fertilizer, household cleaning products, hobby glues, nail polish and remover, fluorescent light tubes and bulbs, and mercury-containing items.

Please don’t ever dump these items on the ground, pour them down the drain, or put them into any of your curbside containers! HHW contains chemicals that can harm the workers who handle your trash and pollute our soil and water. It needs to be handled at special facilities where the chemicals can be recycled or disposed of safely.

Dispose of all HHW safely. Your community may have a collection program for household hazardous waste to reduce potential harm posed by these chemicals. To search for a location near you, contact your local solid waste management offices or search online for HHW collection in your zip code. You can also use the Earth 911 database.

Photo credit: matejmo |  iStock | Getty Images Plus

Written by

Eco Partners helps you deliver local environmental educational information – cost-effectively and efficiently. We do all the heavy lifting and you get all the credit.

Comments are closed.