Hazardous Wastes: What They Are and How to Dispose of Them

If you have been recycling for a long time, you may have heard that you cannot recycle hazardous wastes. This is because of complications and dangers that can occur during the recycling process. With that being said, despite a hazardous waste item or its container being made of recyclable materials, it cannot be put in your recycling bin. However, there are ways to dispose of these items in a sustainable manner. In this blog post, we are going to explain how. But first, let’s cover what hazardous wastes are.

 

What Are Household Hazardous Wastes?

While the term “hazardous waste” sounds like it would consist of just acids or sewage, there are actually many forms of hazardous wastes that should never end up in your recycling bin. The United States Environmental Protection Agency defines hazardous waste as “a waste with properties that make it dangerous or capable of having a harmful effect on human health or the environment.” In other words, if the item poses a threat to any living thing, it is probably a form of hazardous waste.

 

Some examples of hazardous wastes other than acids and sewage are paint, gasoline, motor oil, bleach, propane, and more. Truthfully, there are hundreds of hazardous wastes that you could have around your home. If you are unsure if something is hazardous, ask yourself if it is corrosive, ignitable, toxic, or reactive. If you say yes to any of these things, it is a hazardous waste.

 

Why Can’t You Recycle Hazardous Waste Containers?

Many hazardous wastes come in recyclable materials like metal or plastic. For example, bleach usually comes in plastic, and paint typically comes in a metal can. Unfortunately, despite being made of recyclable materials, hazardous waste containers cannot be recycled. As touched on above, this is because of the dangers that can occur during or after the recycling process. If a plastic bottle containing bleach was recycled into a park playground, it can be dangerous for any child who touches it. Even if the bottle was empty, the plastic can absorb the toxic chemicals in the bleach. So, in conclusion, the main reason you cannot recycle materials that once contained hazardous waste is to ensure the safety of those who use the material in its next life.

 

How to Sustainably Dispose of Hazardous Waste Containers

There are a few ways you can dispose of household hazardous waste containers. First, many cities and counties have a household hazardous waste drop off location. Specifically, Hennepin County and Wright County, Minnesota have drop off locations. To see if your city or county has a household hazardous waste site, just do a search online. You will likely find one very easily.

 

Another way you could dispose of your household hazardous waste containers is by looking up a more specific drop off location. For example, many automotive shops will accept empty motor oil cans or propane tanks. They will then use these containers or recycle the container themselves. If you have a household hazardous waste container on hand, it’s a great idea to call a local store or shop to see if they will accept it.

 

If you are in the Minneapolis metro area and are looking for a recycling pickup company, please feel free to call us. We would love to help you make the planet a little cleaner through our recycling services.

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