21 Jan Household Hazardous Waste
Since one of my resolutions was to Be More Green in 2015, I had to understand the difference between trash, recyclables, and household hazardous waste. In addition to my ReThink Waste Tour, I also visited my local Household Hazardous Waste Program (HHWP) to learn exactly what is household hazardous waste.
According to Elizabeth Rouan of the San Mateo County Household Hazardous Waste Program,“household hazardous waste is anything that is not being used for its original purpose.” For example, unwanted laundry detergent can’t go with the trash or poured down the drain; both are illegal.
Here’s a non-comprehensive list of common household hazardous waste:
- Anything with toxic, corrosive, flammable or reactive chemical properties
- Paint (including latex), paint thinner, varnish, stain
- Garden, swimming pool, or hobby chemicals
- Antifreeze, motor oil, oil filters, batteries (automotive/household), fluorescent bulbs/tubes
- Household cleaning products, aerosol spray cans
It’s not always easy or convenient to properly dispose of such items, but it’s important to do the right thing. When making a decision to bring these items home, we must accept the responsibility to properly dispose of them. Here are a few options:
- Be conscious of what you bring home. Buy only what you need and learn how to properly dispose of any leftovers.
- The most ‘green’ thing you can do is use up a product. Buy multi-purpose cleaners instead of different cleaners for each project. Better yet, make your own cleaner from natural ingredients (vinegar, lemon, and water).
- Free-cycle or donate items you no longer want/use to local shelters.
- Every 6-12 months take unused household waste items to your local drop-off center or collection event.
Some HHWP accept medical waste (sharps), however pharmaceuticals must be brought to the Sheriff’s office (which will not accept sharps). Also check with your local HHWP for restrictions on amounts or materials that can be dropped off per visit. Click here to learn more about San Mateo County.
Please don’t hesitate to contact Let Me Organize It with any questions about household hazardous waste.