“Even empty containers of Household Hazardous Waste can pose hazards because of the residual chemicals that might remain.” – U.S.E.P.A.
Identifying and properly disposing of HHW (household hazardous waste) can prevent you, and the environment, from being harmed. Items sitting around your house that are flammable, such as aerosol cans and fuels, in addition to batteries, computers, televisions, paint thinners and other household chemicals all pose an environmental health hazard. Check labels for words such as “danger,” “combustible,” “corrosive” or “toxic,” to identify materials that are HHW.
When making purchases, also look for these words on labels and buy a non-hazardous alternative, if possible, to avoid having to worry about properly disposing of HHW. Even empty containers of HHW can pose a risk, due to residual amounts of chemicals that may remain, according to the U.S. E.P.A. Therefore, your regular recycling program will not accept empty containers that once contained HHW.
Disposal for Oakland County Residents
To dispose of your HHW, contact the public works department of the city or township you live in to see if they offer free HHW collections for residents. NO HAZ, RRRASOC and SOCRRA service many local communities and several communities operate independent programs. You can find out more here.
Attempting to dispose of HHW into a storm drain or down your own sink drain is not permissible. If you witness someone attempting to dispose of anything down a storm drain in Oakland County, call the 24-hour-pollution hotline at 248-858-0931.
Many communities offer drop-off service of household hazardous waste through the NO HAZ Consortium. This link provides detailed information about NO HAZ and their collection events.
Three suggestions for minimizing the amount of household hazardous waste that ends up in a landfill:
1. Not everyone is fortunate enough to live in a heavily populated community that can afford to host its own household hazardous waste collections. If you live in a community that does offer HHW collection for its residents, reach out to friends, relatives and co-workers who may not and offer to dispose of some of their items for them.
2. Give it away! Unused pool chemicals, solvents and full containers of paint can usually be put to good use by somebody else. If your friends, neighbors or relatives have no use for it, try posting an ad on a free website such as www.freecycle.org.
3. When you hear of a collection program, write it down on your calendar immediately and take advantage of it as soon as possible; limited funding often limits how long such programs are available! Below are two new programs that are available to Oakland County residents:
Prescription medication can be dropped off at select Oakland County Sherriff’s offices on Wednesdays, call 248-975-9700 for more information.
DTE is offering $40 to customers that allow them to pick-up their old working refrigerator from their household, call 866-796-0512 for more information.
Resources for disposing of household hazardous waste:
Many communities offer a household hazardous waste program for their residents. Contact your city, village or township to ask about programs that might be available.
You can also contact Oakland County Waste Resource Management at 248-858-0721 to ask about companies that will accept hazardous waste from households and businesses.