You may be surprised to learn that you likely have numerous hazardous materials in your home. Did you know that chlorine bleach is considered hazardous? The average American generates 15 pounds of household hazardous waste per year! If stored, used or disposed of improperly, household hazardous waste may be contributing to contamination of your local drinking water or your watershed. Some examples of hazardous wastes that may be in your home include cleaning products for drains, ovens, and jewelry; oil-based paints, varnishes, stains, and dyes; paint thinners, solvents and strippers; stain and spot removers; detergents and bleach; and photographic chemicals.
Household Hazardous Waste Tips
- Call your municipality to find out about proper disposal techniques and locations. Visit the Maine DEP website for general disposal information.
- Bring unused hazardous chemicals to your local, annual Household Hazardous Waste Day.
- Dispose of chemicals as specified on the product’s labeling.
- Do not dispose of any chemicals by pouring them on the ground or down the drain or toilet.
- Store chemicals in rugged, sealable, spill-resistant containers.
- Clearly label all containers with contents, especially if not in the original container
- Read and carefully follow the chemical’s directions on the packaging.
- Don’t over-use or over-dose household chemicals.
- Make sure your air conditioners are in good working order and not leaking harmful chemicals.
- Remember that the true cost of the chemical you use includes the time and money needed to properly dispose of it.
- Reduce the amount of hazardous waste by buying only what you need, and share any ‘left-over’ with your neighbors.