Tip 2: Adopt Practices That Reduce Waste Toxicityn addition to reducing the amount of materials in the solid waste stream, reducing waste toxicity is another important component of source reduction. Some jobs around the home may require the use of products containing hazardous components. Nevertheless, toxicity reduction can be achieved by following some simple guidelines.
Take actions that use nonhazardous or less hazardous components to accomplish the task at hand. Instead of using pesticides, for example, plant marigolds in your garden to ward off certain pests. In some cases, you may be using less toxic chemicals to do a job, and in others, you may use some physical method, such as sandpaper, scouring pads, or just a little more elbow grease, to achieve the same results.
Learn about alternatives to household items containing hazardous substances. In some cases, products that you have around the house can be used to do the same job as products with hazardous components. (See Source Reduction Alternatives Around the Home, or check with local libraries or bookstores for guidebooks on nonhazardous household practices).
If you do need to use products with hazardous components, use only the amounts needed. Leftover materials can be shared with neighbors or donated to a business, charity, or government agency, or, in the case of used motor oil, recycled at a participating service station. Never put leftover products with hazardous components in food or beverage containers.
For products containing hazardous components, read and follow all directions on product labels. Make sure the containers are always labeled properly and stored safely away from children and pets. When you are finished with containers that are partially full, follow local community policy on household hazardous waste disposal (See Household Hazardous Waste Collection). If at any time you have any questions about potentially hazardous ingredients in products and their impacts on human health, do not hesitate to call your local poison control center.