SOLID WASTE/RECYCLING PUBLICATIONS
There is an extensive list of solid waste publications available from
EPA, many of which are available and can be viewed on the Internet. To
see a list of available EPA Solid Waste Program publications, go to http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/inforesources/pubs/catalog/.
Or call the RCRA hotline at 1-800-424-9346 to order hard copies of these publications.
HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE
What Is It?
Household Hazardous Wastes (HHW) are those wastes produced in our households that are hazardous in nature, but are not regulated as hazardous waste, under federal and state laws. Each person in the United States produces an average of four pounds of HHW each year for a total of about 530,000 tons/yr. In the USA. Included are such items as old paints and paint related products, pesticides, pool chemicals, drain cleaners, and degreasers and other car care products. Such consumer waste products, if carelessly managed can, and frequently do, create environmental and public health hazards. (The term "households" includes multiple residences, hotels, motels, bunkhouses, ranger stations, crew quarters, campgrounds, picnic grounds, and day-use recreation areas). EPA has more information about HHW on Our national web site at http://www.epa.gov/wastes/conserve/materials/hhw.htm
How Should It Be Managed?
1. The best method of managing Household Hazardous Waste(HHW) is to prevent its generation in the first place. This involves selecting the least toxic item "to do the job" and buying only the minimum amounts necessary. Buying in large quantities is not a bargain if half of it has to be discarded.
2. If the material is still useable (i.e. has not been damaged/shelf life expired, etc.) check with friends and neighbors to see if they might be able to use it. Check with community groups such as Little League, Habitat for Humanity, etc. to see if they can use the product.
3. If the material is not useable and/or if such "outlets" are not available, it should be taken to your community's HHW Collection Program. Such programs will ensure that your HHW is recycled or, otherwise, managed, in an environmentally preferable way, under the hazardous waste provisions of the law.
4. If you have used motor oil, take it to a used oil collection site.
5. Spent lead acid (automotive) batteries can be returned to sellers. In most states dealers are required to take old batteries when new ones are purchased. Spent lead acid batteries may not be discarded in landfills. (Both used oil and intact automotive batteries from households are not considered to be hazardous wastes. However, they are frequently generated in households and are thus often grouped in the household hazardous waste category. They are also frequently included in HHW collection programs.)
6.If your community does not have such a collection program or you must discard the materials prior to the next scheduled event, you may legally discard them in your regular trash pick up, provided: You have looked at the label for any disposal directions and have complied with them. Liquids have either been allowed to evaporate (if water based) or absorbed (if non-water based) on some material such as vermiculite, cat litter, or sawdust, so that there are no freestanding liquids). The remaining residue has been carefully packaged to prevent leakage while the material is being transported to the disposal facility The material is placed out in small quantities, over several collection periods.
You can get additional information by contacting the National Recycling Hotline at 1-800-CLEANUP(253-2687) (http://earth911.com/)
The use of household hazardous waste can be greatly reduced or eliminated. Many of the circumstances in which we use household hazardous waste for can be dealt with through the use of non-hazardous, natural alternatives. The alternatives will achieve the same effect without the threat to our natural environment. Some common alternatives to every day needs are described below:
AIR FRESHENERS AND DEODORIZERS
Air fresheners do not really "freshen" the air but instead deaden the sense of smell or counteract one odor with another. Open a window, use an exhaust fan or do both. Sprinkle baking soda in odor producing areas or set vinegar out in an open dish. Place an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator to absorb food odors.
CARPET AND RUG CLEANERS
Mix a cup mild liquid dishwashing detergent with 1 pint boiling water and let cool. With an electric mixer whip the paste into a stiff foam. Apply it to the carpet with a damp sponge and rub gently. Work into 4 x 4 sections. Wipe off the suds with a clean cloth. To rinse, add 1 cup of lukewarm water. Rinse each section and wipe carpet as you go. Change the rinse frequently. Clean the carpet on a dry sunny day with windows open to speed drying. Do not soak the carpet; it may mildew. Test any shampoo first on an inconspicuous area to insure that no discoloration will occur.
CERAMIC TILE CLEANERS
Pour 1/4 cup baking soda, a cup white vinegar and 1 cup ammonia into a bucket. Add 1 gallon warm water and stir until baking soda dissolves. This solution can be used as a general multi-purpose cleaner.
DISINFECTANTS AND GERMICIDES
Wash items in soap and water. Washing in Borax or sodium carbonate (washing soda) and water will also work.
If you use a commercial drain opener that fails to work you will be
left with a drain clogged with a highly caustic compound. Prevent clogging
by covering drains with a screen to keep out grease, food scraps, and
hair. To loosen blockage, mix 1 cup each of baking soda and salt and 1
cup of white vinegar and pour down
the drain. Wait 15 minutes. Flush drain thoroughly with boiling water and use a rubber plunger or plumber's snake if drain is seriously clogged.
FLOOR WAX STRIPPERS
People who are sensitive to fumes and odors have been known to suffer
from headaches or other discomfort after fresh floor wax. To polish linoleum
and vinyl floors without commercial wax, mix 1 part thick boiled starch
with 1 part soap suds. Rub the mixture on the floor and polish dry with
a clean, soft, dry cloth. To remove old
wax, pour a small amount of club soda on a section of the floor. Scrub well, let soak for a few minutes, then wipe clean.
Use olive oil, lemon oil, beeswax or a mixture of beeswax and olive oil. A mixture of 2 teaspoons lemon oil and 1 pint mineral oil in a spray bottle will also work.
Place cedar chips or sprigs of dried tansy around cloths or store cloths in a cedar chest.
Aerosol oven cleaners are among the worst contributors to indoor air
pollution. People with asthma, chronic bronchitis, and other respiratory
problems are particularly susceptible to the fumes of strong oven cleaners.
No matter how thoroughly you try to rinse these cleaners, a residue remains
that emits additional fumes the
minute you heat the oven again. Wipe away grease and spills after preparing each meal. Wipe away charred spills with a nonmetallic bristle brush. To remove baked on grease and spills scrub with baking soda. Do not let the baking soda touch wires of heating elements. Scour racks and burner inserts with steel wool.
Pour water into an aluminum or an enameled pan with aluminum foil covering the bottom. Fill with enough water to cover the silver (2-3 inches). Add 1 teaspoon salt and boil for 3 minutes. Remove silver, wash in soapy water and polish dry. Do not use silver jewelry or flatware with hollow handles.
Taking care of spots immediately with nontoxic compounds avoids a trip to the dry cleaners. Commercial dry cleaning agents cause light headaches, dizziness, and other central nervous systems symptoms. For butter, coffee, gravy or chocolate stains, immediately sponge up or scrape off as much of the stain as possible. Dab with a damp cloth of 1 teaspoon white vinegar and 1 quart cold water solution or put paper towels underneath the blot and apply a solution of equal parts ammonia and water. If an ammonia stain remains, blot it with a solution of table salt in water.
TOILET BOWL CLEANERS
Pour a cup liquid chlorine bleach into the toilet bowl. Let stand for at least 30 minutes. Scrub with long handled brush and flush.
Measure 3 tablespoons ammonia. Pour 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 3/4 cup water into a clean spray bottle. Use a solution of 2 tablespoons vinegar and 1 quart water.
CAUTION: Never mix products containing ammonia with chlorine bleach, toilet bowl cleaners, rust removers or oven cleaners. These products with produce poisonous gases when combined.
HOME WORK PRODUCTS
(Paint Strippers, Glues and Adhesives, Turpentine, Varnish, Lacquers, and Auto Body Repair Compounds)
Solvents used in furniture refinishing can cause headaches, drowsiness,
blurred vision, impaired motor response, and chemical intoxication. Paint
solvents are of particular concern to people with heart conditions
and to those who wear contact lenses. Methanol and certain other solvent compounds can stress the heart. Contact lenses absorb strong vapors holding contacts against the eye causing irritation or eye damage.
Use these products outdoors or in a very large room with steady current
dry, not humid, air. Ventilate well by opening all windows and doors.
Use a large exhaust fan to blow fumes out. Wear a paper filter dust mask
when grinding or sanding. Use a dust attachment on power tools. Clean
up dust and filings with a vacuum cleaner instead of a broom. Do not soak
brushes in solvents. Clean them immediately and soak them in plain water
or soap and water. Always wear protective goggles, gloves and a work apron. Separate the work area from the living space as much as possible.
To control fleas on dogs and cats, bathe animals every two to four weeks with pet shampoos containing insect repellent herbs such as rosemary, rue, eucalyptus, and citronella.
HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE (HHW) WEB SITES
U. S. EPA - Household Hazardous Wastes
Delaware Solid Waste Authority - Household Hazardous
Click on Programs and Household Hazardous Waste
Pennsylvania DEP http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/airwaste/wm/HHW/HHW.htm
California Integrated Waste Management Board http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/HomeHazWaste/