Spring Cleaning: Small Steps You Can Take to Help the Environment 


As warmer weather approaches, homeowners prepare for spring clean-ups and cleanouts, refresh their living spaces, and say farewell to unused or unwanted items. However, some items you are ready to pitch can be extremely hazardous if disposed of improperly.

Understanding Household Hazardous Waste

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines household hazardous waste (HHW) as leftover household products that have the potential to catch fire, react, or explode under certain circumstances or products that are corrosive or toxic. When HHW is disposed of incorrectly, it can lead to contamination and pose health risks to humans, wildlife and ecosystems. Disposing of household hazardous waste correctly and using appropriate channels to minimize its environmental impact is crucial.Types of HHW you may find around your home include:

  • Aerosols
  • Batteries
  • Mothballs
  • Electronics
  • Paints & solvents
  • Photo & pool chemicals
  • Fluorescent tubes & lightbulbs
  • Herbicides, pesticides & poisons
  • Polishes: silver polish, furniture polish
  • Propane tanks, motor oil & automotive products
  • Cleaning agents: drain cleaner, glass cleaner, rug deodorizer  

Collection Events: The Best Solution to Proper Disposal of HHW

Fortunately, many communities and municipalities typically offer free waste collection events to help residents safely dispose of HHW.  To decide whether to drop off your waste items, there are a couple of things to consider:

  • Find out which types of hazardous waste will be accepted at the event. Most events will provide a list of accepted items.  
  • Check if the event limits the amount of hazardous waste you can bring.  
  • While often free, some events may have fees for particular items or quantities. Contact the event organizer for specific details on potential costs.  
  • If any items are damaged or leaking, contact event organizers for special handling instructions.
  • Follow instructions provided by the event and be sure to secure hazardous items properly for transportation.  

Organizing an HHW Event in Your Community

If you are still looking for an event near you, you can take the initiative to request that your local municipality organize an event in your area.

  • Research past events in your local community and if surrounding communities have held HHW events.  
  • Contact Clean Earth, whichoffers services for specific household hazardous waste needs.  

Whether you are looking to attend an HHW event near you or working to bring one to your community, you can make a meaningful contribution in making our world a little cleaner and greener.   

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