Disposing of Household Hazardous Waste
Posted on 09/20/2023

In our everyday lives, it's easy to accumulate a variety of products that make our homes more comfortable, convenient, and efficient. From cleaning supplies and paints to batteries and electronics, these items enhance our quality of life. However, many of us may not realize that some of these household items are considered hazardous waste and must be disposed of properly to protect our health and the environment.
Understanding Household Hazardous Waste

Household hazardous waste refers to products that contain substances that can be harmful to human health and the environment if not managed correctly. These substances can include toxic chemicals, flammable materials, corrosive agents, and more. Common examples of household hazardous waste include: 

  • Paints and Solvents: Paints, thinners, and solvents contain chemicals that can be harmful to both people and the environment if not disposed of properly.
  • Cleaning Products: Many household cleaning products contain corrosive or toxic ingredients that can pose risks to health and the environment.
  •  Batteries: Batteries, especially rechargeable ones, often contain heavy metals like lead, cadmium, and mercury, which can contaminate soil and water if not handled correctly.
  •  Electronic Waste (E-Waste): Old electronics, such as computers, smartphones, and batteries, can release hazardous materials if not recycled properly.
  • Pesticides and Herbicides: Lawn and garden chemicals can be harmful to both humans and wildlife if they enter the water supply or are improperly discarded. 

The Environmental Impact of Improper Disposal 

When household hazardous waste is not disposed of correctly, it can have severe consequences for the environment: 

  • Soil and Water Contamination: Hazardous chemicals can leach into the soil and groundwater, contaminating water sources and affecting aquatic ecosystems.
  • Air Pollution: Burning or improperly disposing of hazardous waste can release toxic fumes into the air, contributing to air pollution and potential health risks.
  • Harm to Wildlife: Contaminated water and soil can harm wildlife and disrupt ecosystems.
  • Health Risks: Exposure to household hazardous waste can pose serious health risks to humans, including respiratory problems, skin irritation, and more.

The Importance of Proper Disposal 

Correctly getting rid of household hazardous waste is very important for our communities and the environment. It keeps people healthy by reducing exposure to harmful chemicals, helps save natural resources, fights pollution, and supports sustainability through recycling valuable materials.
How to Dispose of Household Hazardous Waste

Fortunately, there are safe and convenient ways to dispose of household hazardous waste: 

  • Local Collection Events: Many communities organize free or low-cost hazardous waste collection events where residents can drop off their waste. (Check out the Free event flyer hosted by Benton County, see below.)
  •  Household Hazardous Waste Facilities: Some areas have designated facilities for hazardous waste disposal.
  • Recycling Programs: Explore recycling options for items like batteries and electronics.
  • Follow Labels: Always read product labels and follow disposal instructions.

By taking responsibility for the proper disposal of household hazardous waste, we can play a significant role in protecting our environment and ensuring a safer, healthier future for ourselves and generations to come. Remember, when it comes to hazardous waste, safe disposal is everyone's responsibility.
Hazardous Waste Event