When it comes to residential junk removal, most of our junk does not fall into the category of 'hazardous waste' most of the time. But sometimes it does.
And it's those pesky bottles, cans, cylinders, and other items that create confusion and anxiety on the part of conscientious homeowners and others who ask, "What do you do with them?"
When The Good Stuff Under Your Sink is Bad
Household cleaning supplies, solvents, and other chemical-based products in our home are great for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting. Not to mention for removing stains and making things smell better, look brighter, and feel fresher.
But many of those same great household products constitute a health hazard if their remnants are improperly disposed of.
Once you're done with one of these products, and the bottle, jar, or container has substantial residue in it, that product now becomes household hazardous waste, or HHW. And in most all states it is illegal to simply throw these items into your household trash and then into your residential waste bin.
Here's what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has to say about HHW:
EPA considers some leftover household products that can catch fire, react, or explode under certain circumstances, or that are corrosive or toxic as household hazardous waste. Products, such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides can contain hazardous ingredients and require special care when you dispose of them.
One difficulty is in knowing what, exactly, qualifies as HHW, or household hazardous waste. Another difficulty lies in knowing how and where to dispose of these materials properly, legally, and conveniently.
Your municipal waste management company can't take them with the household trash. Firms like Junk King can't take them since federal law prohibits it.
So, let's start with the first issue: What products or materials can be classified as HHW?
We adapted this list from Zero Waste Sonoma to help us with that question:
Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive, but it does cover a vast majority of items and products that can be considered hazardous when it's time for disposal.
And disposal can be a challenge for all types of products and materials.
For example, these materials often require special disposal processes and not always accepted at community HHW programs:
- WOOD (PRESSURE-TREATED)
- ELECTRONICS (E-WASTE)
- APPLIANCES - LARGE
- TIRES AND INNER TUBES
What some of us do to dispose of our household wastes, unfortunately, is not only dangerous but possibly illegal.
The EPA notes,
To avoid the potential risks associated with household hazardous wastes, it is important that people always monitor the use, storage, and disposal of products with potentially hazardous substances in their homes. Improper disposal of HHW can include pouring them down the drain, on the ground, into storm sewers, or in some cases putting them out with the regular trash.
They go on to point out that, while the dangers of such disposal methods might not be immediately obvious, improper disposal of these wastes can pollute the environment and pose a threat to human health.
In fact, some types of HHW have the potential to cause physical injury to sanitation workers, and they can contaminate septic tanks or wastewater treatment systems if poured down drains or toilets.
So, while there are plenty of resources to let us know what things are considered household hazardous wastes, the question for many of us is still, "What do you do with them?"
Disposing of Household Hazardous Waste the Right Way
The good news is that many states, counties, and municipalities have created a wide variety of programs intended to facilitate the pickup and disposal of HHW materials. Not all programs are created equal, nor do they reach every household in their respective regions, but the efforts are increasing and the processes used are improving.
For example, in many cases, household residents are required to bring their HHW items to a central collection point. While this sounds good in theory, these programs have met with varying varying degrees of success.
In some locations, mobile HHW collection units are being used. These are often trailers designed especially for temporary HHW storage and they can travel to various locations within a town or community. Additionally, some cities even have programs that pick up HHW right at the curb.
The EPA also provides resources to help you get rid of your own collection of HHW products and materials safely and properly. You can find out how to do this in your area:
- Contact your local environmental, health, or solid waste agency to learn about permanent or periodic HHW collections near you.
- Search for "household hazardous waste" with your zip code using the Earth 911 database for more information.
Most of us consider ourselves to be responsible citizens and residents. Consequently, with the right tools and information, most of us would engage proper disposal practices for our household hazardous items.
For many of us, it is simply a matter of understanding what is HHW in our trash and junk, how to take care of them correctly.
Residential Junk Removal and Recycling Made Easy
Even though we can't take your household hazardous waste, we do have a simple and efficient option for removing all of your other junk and trash items - just give us a call at Junk King.
Junk King provides professional junk hauling services to remove any and all of your junk. And this includes anything made with plastic and even your excess trash and garbage. We even have the equipment and teams to remove a large refrigerators and other appliances up small stairways or down your basement steps out through the garage.
Whatever your junk is or how much you have, Junk King can help you get it out of the way. We provide an eco-friendly junk removal service to help you get rid of any unwanted junk, large trash items, or any old appliances.
Our professional and insured appliance disposal team will show up at your home or office; we call 15 minutes before we arrive on site and we’ll give you a free estimate based on how much room your junk takes up in our truck. You point and we haul your unwanted items into our junk removal trucks, with no hidden fees.
So, ready to take care of all your residential junk removal? t’s as simple as 1, 2, 3.
You make an appointment by booking online above or by calling 1.888.888.JUNK (5865).