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Disposing of Chemicals

Hazardous chemical waste is more prevalent than one may think.  Look around your home and see how many of these items you may have.  The items include: paints, polishes, batteries, thinners, gasoline, anti-freeze, motor oil, transmission, brake and steering fluids, thermometers, fluorescent bulbs, fertilizers, solvents, pesticides, and herbicides.  So, how do you go about disposing of these harmful chemicals?

Hazardous waste should be taken to a disposal facility because they contain chemicals that are a danger to human health and the environment.  Do not simply pour any chemicals down the drain.  Sewage treatment plants will not extract any of the hazardous compounds and they may end up in the ocean or other bodies of nearby water.  Also, do not pour chemicals or motor oil onto the ground.  These chemicals can poison soil and end up in water ways.

Most cities or towns will also have a recycling plant.  Recycling plants are very important for people and the environment.  The primary benefit is the reduction of landfill waste.  Recycling plants provide any reusable materials to other businesses.  Businesses will then use the recycled material and reduce fossil fuel emissions by avoiding the harvest or production of new materials.  The industry also offers economic benefits.  The National Recycling Coalition estimates that the recycling industry employs over 1 million workers each year.  The plants may vary in the types of products which they can accept.  But, many of these places will take your old or unwanted chemicals and recycle them for you.  This service includes things like tires, oils, cleaning products and other chemicals.  Most places will charge a small fee.  You can also look into local groups and organizations that will do monthly pickups for hazardous materials to be disposed of.

The most environmentally friendly solution to the hazardous waste is to not produce it.  Use the least toxic cleaners and paints that you can find.  Buy rechargeable batteries and use them as much as possible before recycling them.  Offer unneeded or unwanted items to friends, family and neighbors. When you take waste to the hazardous waste collection center or to a recycling plant, any reusable materials will be saved.  Just make sure that the waste is in its original container.

These substances can be dangerous to both people and the environment. Improper disposal of hazardous waste can lead to poisoning, harm ground water, poor air quality, and poor soil quality.  Improper disposal will pollute the environment and pose a threat to human health.



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