Household Hazardous Waste – Clean & Green

When you think of hazardous waste, do you think of caustic and deadly chemicals spewing from a factory or laboratory? Well you might be surprised at how many items considered hazardous waste are sitting on shelves and under cabinets in your homes and garages.

Items used in our homes fall under a different set of rules and are referred to as Household Hazardous Waste. Although these items do not fall under the same strict regulations as hazardous waste, special handling is recommended at time of disposal.

The following are some examples of HHW materials you may find in your homes. This is not a complete list:

Automotive fluids: oil, anti-freeze, fuel, brake fluid, etc.
Household cleaners: bleach, ammonia, disinfectants, oven cleaner, drain cleaners, etc.
Home maintenance: varnish, stains, oils, mouse/rat poisons, etc.
Lawn and garden: fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, etc.
Miscellaneous: pool chemicals, photo chemicals, old chemistry sets, etc.

According to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), the best way to manage HHW is to avoid creating it. Buy only what you need. Check the label for the Precautionary Statement and choose the least toxic product to do the job.

Look for the following words:
Caution indicates a mild hazard
Warning indicates a moderate hazard
Danger or Poison indicate an extreme hazard.

Best Disposal Practice
The very best method of disposal is at an HHW collection where materials will be handled by a company licensed in transportation and disposal.

The first and last collection for Limestone County residents was held in 2008. We believe it is well past time for our residents to have at least one HHW collection annually. KALB is working with the Athens City Council and the Limestone County Commission to make this happen.

If you would like to see an HHW collection for Athens-Limestone County, send us an email letting us know. You may also contact your city council member and/or county commissioner to let them know you would like this service.

Reducing HHW In Your Home

Glass Cleaner: Mix one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in one quart of water. Spray on and use newspaper to dry.
Furniture Polish: Mix one tablespoon of lemon juice in one pint of mineral or vegetable oil and wipe furniture.
Rug Deodorizer: Liberally sprinkle carpets with baking soda. Wait at least 15 minutes and vacuum. Repeat if necessary.
Silver Polish: Boil two to three inches of water in a shallow pan with one teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon of baking soda and a sheet of aluminum foil. Totally submerge silver and boil for two to three more minutes. Wipe away tarnish. Repeat as necessary.
All-Natural Insect Repellents: When using these products, reapply frequently for best results.
Motor Oil: Accepted at the Athens-Limestone Recycling Center.
Transmission Fluid: Check with local repair shops to see if they will accept it for recycling.
CFL’s: Accepted for recycling at Lowe’s.
By: Lynne Hart
Executive Coordinator – Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful