Water Quality District - Disposal Guide
Household Recycling and Disposal Guide
We create lots of household waste in our daily lives, and disposing of all that waste can be a problem. Landfilling our household waste uses large areas of land, and can create water quality problems, as can pouring waste down the drain. So minimizing the amount of any waste products that we generate is important. In addition, some wastes are hazardous, and need to be disposed of in particular ways to protect people and the environment. This guide is designed to provide information about recycling and disposing of various items and substances found in people's homes, and to provide tips for reducing the amount of household waste we create.
What Are Household Hazardous Wastes?
Household hazardous wastes are unwanted products or chemicals used in household activities, for which use or disposal poses a threat to human health or the environment. If you use your household product up, there is no hazardous waste to dispose of. Some products, such as mercury thermostats, computer monitors and refrigerators, have to be disposed of after they wear out, or when they are replaced with newer, more energy efficient models.
To be considered Household Hazardous Waste, the amount of waste brought for disposal must be under certain limits*. Most household hazardous materials can be grouped into the following categories:
- Automotive Products
- Paints and Solvents
- Lawn & Garden Chemicals (Fertilizers, Herbicides, Insecticides, and Pesticides)
- Some Household Cleaning and Maintenance Products
What Makes a Product Hazardous?
A product or material is hazardous when it contains one or more of the following properties:
- Flammable: Can easily be ignited or set on fire.
- Explosive or Reactive: Can detonate or explode through exposure to heat, sudden shock, or pressure.
- Corrosive or Caustic: Can burn and destroy living tissue.
- Toxic or Poisonous: Capable of causing injury or death through ingestion, inhalation, or absorption (skin contact). Some toxic substances are known to cause cancer (carcinogens), genetic damage (mutagens), and/or fetal harm (teratogens).
Consumer Tips Regarding Household Hazardous Waste
- Before you buy a product:
- Read the label. Make sure it is the product you want and that you’re comfortable with the ingredients.
- Buy the least hazardous product. Look for signal words: Caution, Warning, Danger, and Poison. These signal words indicate the level of hazard (caution is the least hazardous compared to poison which is highly toxic).
- Buy the least amount needed to do the job. Do not "stock up" on hazardous products!
- Once it's in your home, use it safely:
- Read the instructions on how to use the product and use the correct amount. Remember, you won’t get twice the results by using twice the product.
- Use the proper safety equipment when working with hazardous chemicals.
- Do not mix products unless directed by label instructions.
- If pregnant, avoid toxic chemical exposure as much as possible.
- Consider wearing protective eyewear and disposable gloves when working with solvents and pesticides.
- Use products in well-ventilated areas to avoid inhaling fumes.
- Do not eat, drink, or smoke while using hazardous products. Wash your hands thoroughly after you have finished.
- Store hazardous products and waste safely:
- Keep products out of the reach of children and pets.
- Store all hazardous products away from food.
- Never store hazardous products or wastes in food or beverage containers, and make sure containers are properly marked.
- Make sure lids and caps are tightly sealed and childproof.
- Make sure containers are kept dry to prevent corrosion.
- Store volatile chemicals or products that can generate vapors or fumes in a well-ventilated area.
- Dispose of wastes properly!
Click for Instructions on Rejuvenating and Reusing Old Fuel, Degreasers and Thinners (Colorado Health Dept. website)
Recycling or disposal at local outlets: Many products can be recycled or disposed at local outlets throughout the year.
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Items Accepted During Haz Waste Days
|(City Shops unless other location noted after item)|
(Palmer Elect. (for a fee), Ace, Home Depot & Lowes (cfls only for free)
|Ballasts and Capacitors
|Diesel Fuel||Nail Polish & Remover||Varnishes|
|Driveway Sealer||Neon Lights (Palmer Elect.)||Weed Killers – Herbicides|
|Fertilizers||Oil and Oil Filters||Windshield Washer Fluid|
|Fire Extinguishers (some)||Oil-Based Paint and Stain||Wood Preservatives|
Items NOT Accepted During Haz Waste Days
* Federal regulations stipulate that Haz Waste Days can only accept hazardous wastes from "conditionally exempt small quantity generators" (CESQGs), which are defined as people or entities generating less than certain quantities of hazardous waste. To be considered a CESQG, you must generate less than 220 lbs. (approx. 27 gallons) of hazardous waste per month (or less than 2.2 lbs. of acute hazardous waste), and store no more than 2200 lbs. of hazardous waste on site at any one time (EPA CESQG).
The Residential Disposal Guide is provided by the Missoula Valley Water Quality District as a public service and is not an endorsement of specific businesses, services or products. Any omissions or inaccuracies are unintentional. Please contact us with corrections or additions. Call businesses or agencies to confirm hours, locations and charges for services, if any. For information on disposal of items not listed, email or call the Water Quality District at 406-258-4890, M - F, 8 am to 5 pm.
Much of the information provided is from the Washington County, MN, Dept. of Public Health and Environment website.
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