Hazardous waste products need to be sorted from the rest of your trash. Materials that are toxic, corrosive and poisonous need to be kept separate otherwise they can cause serious problems at landfill sites. Items such as broken thermometers (containing mercury) or cans of paint, household chemicals and batteries cannot simply be sent to landfill or dump sites. Pesticides and other harmful contaminants could pose further problems for the environment if not disposed of properly.
When renovating your home, discarding of such items such as lead paint based walls or insulation that could contain asbestos needs to be carefully discarded. Most landfill sites have designated places or stations where you can bring materials that may be hazardous or cities have collection sites on specific days for items such as batteries, leftover cleansers or other chemicals that you may have in your house. If you are unsure, contact your local waste management facility.
Hazardous waste can also come from industrial sites or from hospitals where medical waste such as radioactive or contaminated material exists. Proper care in disposal of such waste is crucial to the environment and safety of individuals. Use caution when dealing with any hazardous materials.
Medications, chemicals and other items simply put down the drain could cause water quality problems. Lakes can become polluted with contaminants from ‘midnight dumpers’ or other individuals who aren’t responsibly disposing of hazardous waste.
Ships, which have had oil spills, have inadvertently killed fish and ruined the ecosystem for extended periods of time. Watersheds have been damaged by many means including unsafe disposal of various household waste products that individuals knew were hazardous but weren’t responsible enough to dispose of carefully. Many people that can’t be bothered to carefully dispose of these things create problems when they simply dispose of them in trash bags for the landfill operators to sort out. Sometimes these things get into the landfill system and can cause environmental nightmares.
What happens to hazardous waste? Depending upon what the product is, landfill or special disposal sites have the means to carefully dispose of these items. Some products are packaged and carefully shipped to holding locations. Other products can be buried in an area and in such a way that they pose little or no risk to people or the environment. Some products are processed and recycled or others are incinerated. Whenever possible, citizens should elect to purchase safer biodegradable products over harsh chemicals. Whatever the case is, you need to ensure that you correctly dispose of these hazardous waste materials in order to protect the environment and the planet’s future.