Hidden beneath our bathroom sinks, in the dark corner of your shed, or in the dusty attic is something ready and willing to contaminate your home, body, and the environment. These impostors are welcomed into our homes often disguised in floral print bottles with shiny labels stating CAUTION, WARNING, CORROSIVE, EXPLOSIVE, FLAMMABLE, POISONOUS or TOXIC. What are they? Household Hazardous Waste.
Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) is described as, “Any discarded or unused portion of a product containing chemicals that could pose a hazard to human health or the surrounding environment.” HHW require one or multiple symbols to identify their risk to the user. Common HHW found around your home include aerosol hairspray, adhesives, rechargeable batteries, shoe polish, all-purpose cleaners, and light bulbs just to name a few.
Why should you dispose of household hazardous wastes correctly? These and many other hazardous materials require proper disposal to prevent the spread of chemicals into our soils, air, and water sources. Never place chemicals with these symbols into your garbage or recycling carts, pour them onto the ground, or empty them down the drain. When HHW are discarded at a landfill, if a failure were to occur, there is a potential risk for it to leach into the surrounding soil and groundwater if a failure were to occur. Pouring substances down the drain could cause septic system failures, eventually allowing chemicals to make their way into nearby waterways. In addition, proper disposal ensures those working with waste and recycling are not exposed to the risk of inhaling toxic substances and reduces fires or explosions.
Help put waste in the right place! If you are using these chemicals daily, Loraas recommends that you learn how to safely and responsibly discard unused portions of your HHW. To help you dispose of your HHW locally, the City of Saskatoon coordinates monthly Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Days between the months of April and November. Armed with a team of highly trained individuals, a free temporary drop-off site is made available for all Saskatoon residents. Before making an effort to drop off your HHW, ensure that the products are clearly labeled and in their original containers, tightly capped, and are never mixed with other chemicals. To find out more information about household hazardous waste recycling, monthly drop-off dates, acceptable and non-acceptable please click here!