If an item is poisonous, flammable or corrosive, it’s hazardous. When sent to a landfill, items deemed household hazardous waste (HHW) wreak havoc on the soil, water and air.
This is why it’s important to make sure that your hazardous materials are disposed of responsibly. At Junk Ninja, we are committed to the safe and environmentally friendly disposal of household items. We are a full-service junk removal company that will remove and recycle anything and everything from your home.
More specifically, we will take away anything that isn’t hazardous — because hazardous materials need to be specially handled to ensure safety and pollution prevention.
If you are interested in decluttering your home of old items, call us to learn more about how our junk removal services work. Whether you need help recycling computers or require furniture removal, all you have to do is point us in the direction of what you want to be removed and we will haul it away.
That said, while we don’t remove hazardous waste, we are committed to helping you keep your home and the environment clean.
Many materials deemed household hazardous waste aren’t harmful when being used, but when sentenced to a landfill or discarded of improperly, they pose a great risk.
When getting rid of hazardous materials, it’s essential that you avoid these common mistakes that put not only the environment at risk, but your home and personal health too.
When You Dispose of Batteries:
Batteries are the lifeline of a lot of the most important products in our life. That said, it’s vital to maintain safe battery recycling and disposal practices. After all, batteries contain toxic chemicals that can wreak havoc when not properly treated.
When it comes to getting rid of batteries, these are the things to avoid:
Not Identifying the Type of Battery: Not all batteries are the same, which means not all are disposed of the same way. For example, Duracell rechargeable batteries don’t contain mercury and are alkaline — this means that, unlike hazardous batteries, they can be recycled. There are two types of batteries:
- Regular Batteries: Regular batteries include alkaline, carbon-zinc and manganese batteries. These are most commonly used in converters, your computer mouse, and other small devices. These types of batteries can go right into your regular garbage.
- Universal Waste Batteries: Universal waste batteries are any batteries with Nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) or small sealed lead-acid (SSLA) — these are primarily rechargeable batteries or button batteries. These are hazardous and contain toxic elements (i.e. lead and cadmium.)
When these batteries are not disposed of properly, their toxins can leak and get released into air and soil. When recycled properly, these toxic materials are removed to protect the environment.
Taking Apart the Battery: When taken apart, a battery’s materials can be harmful and pose a fire risk. Duracell batteries may not contain mercury, but many do.
When You Dispose of Paint
Paint is an excellent way to brighten up a space — that said, there are a lot of things to be aware of when it comes to dealing with your paint.
Considering the toxins that are in paint, it’s essential to understand the importance of safe paint disposal and implement responsible disposal practices. These are the mistakes people commonly make when getting rid of their paint:
Pouring it Down the Drain: According to Readers Digest, white spirit or solvent-based paint should never be poured down the drain.
When you pour paint down the sink, it travels right into groundwater — and paint has various chemicals that, unsurprisingly, will contaminate this water. This is a larger environmental issue and can pose major health risks.
Not Identifying the Type of Paint: Not knowing what type of paint you are disposing of is a huge faux pas. Paint is either latex or oil-based, both of which require different treatment.
Leaving Paint out Without a Lid: If your paint is water-based, you can leave it out to be collected — but that said, many forget how important it is to seal your paint properly. After all, leaving your paint out unsealed is a sure way for the paint’s chemicals to be released into the air.
Holding on to It: If you don’t know how to get rid of your paint, don’t hold on it. Make an effort to get rid of it — it won’t take much time.
All it will take is a quick visit to your city’s official site to see what paints will get picked up, and which paints will be accepted at a depot. Holding on to your paint will contribute to your home’s clutter and will just keep those chemicals around to contaminate your indoor air.
Tossing Out Paint as Is: If you are going to get rid of your paint on your own at home, you can’t just toss it out as is. You need to take the necessary steps to treat your paint if you are not going to bring it to a depot or retailer.
According to Lowes, you can add cat litter to your latex paint to make it suitable to toss into the garbage. Specifically, however much paint you have left, add an equal amount of cat litter to your latex paint. Let the mixture sit for an hour, then remove the lid and toss out the dried paint. You can also use a paint hardener for the same effect.
When You Dispose of Propane
Barbeque season is the best season. With that said, a lot of barbeques run on propane — and you will eventually need to replace your tank.
Damaged or empty propane tanks and cylinders are considered household hazardous waste and will not be accepted for pickup. These tanks are pressurized and can have disastrous impacts if they explode – this is because they always have residual propane inside, even when seemingly empty.
These are the major do-nots when it comes to dealing with propane tanks:
Bring it Indoors: Under no circumstances should you bring your propane tank inside — the pressurized gas should not be in a closed space due to the risk of explosion.
Throw It into the Garbage: Refrain from throwing your propane tank into the garbage. The Canadian Propane Association states that these tanks and cylinders must be dropped off at a depot where tanks are accepted and appropriately diverted.
Fill a Damaged Propane Tank: If a propane tank is damaged, it can no longer be used and must be disposed of. Don’t try to fill it — if it’s damaged, it’s run its course.
Leave it in Your Car: Your propane tank should be brought directly to a depot and should not be left in your car. When transporting it, it should also be closed or plugged.
When Disposing of Household Medical Waste
According to the World Health Organization, 15 percent of waste created by health professionals is considered hazardous material. This waste includes syringes, lancets, injectors, needles and pre-filled pens.
When not disposed of properly, these materials can contaminate water and release toxic pollutants and pathogens into the air.
Here’s what you should avoid doing with your medical waste for the sake of your health and waste management workers:
Putting It in the Garbage: Putting medical waste — especially sharp objects — in your garbage is incredibly hazardous.
When you put sharp medical objects like syringes in your garbage, you run the risk of sharper materials penetrating the skin of a waste management worker. In fact, according to the WHO, unsafe injections were the cause of 33, 800 new HIV infections, 1.7 million hepatitis B infections and 315 000 hepatitis C infections in 2010 alone.
Keeping it At Home: Keeping unnecessary medical waste at home, especially if you have kids, is unnecessary and can pose a health risk. Reduce your medical waste clutter and get rid of the waste appropriately.
You can do this by returning objects to your local pharmacy or bringing them to a local drop-off depot — just check out your city’s official site to find out when depots are happening and what they take. Toronto also offers Toxic Taxi services for your medical waste.
When Disposing of Hazardous Waste
There are various ways you can get rid of your hazardous waste. If you have HHW that you are looking to get rid of, here’s how you can dispose of it — without damaging your health or the environment.
Household Hazardous Waste Depots: Most cities will have depots where you can drop off your hazardous waste. The City of Ottawa, for example, runs several Household Hazardous Waste drop-off days year. These accept the following:
· Needles and syringes
· Paints and coatings
· Fertilizers and pesticides
· Mercury switches/thermometers
· Fluorescent bulbs/tubes
· Fire extinguishers
· Aerosol containers
· Propane cylinders
· Oven and window cleaners
· Pool chemicals
Give it Away: Remember, there are hazardous materials that are primarily hazardous when sent to a landfill. For example, if you have leftover paint, you can always give it to a friend who may be embarking on a room renovation of their own!
When You Don’t Get Rid of Hazardous Waste Properly: If you adopt unsafe hazardous waste practices, you are not only putting the environment at risk but your health as well.
When sent to a landfill, household hazardous waste contaminates air, soil and water – and when you leave it at your home, this waste releases harmful toxins into your air which leads to breathing problems among other health issues.