Each household contributes 20 pounds of hazardous waste per year

Are you part of pollution or the Solution, discover more?

The US Government estimates that the average American household generates around 20 pounds of toxic waste each year. If the US Government is right, the average household contributes 20 pounds of hazardous waste per year. (I’d guess that in our more wealthy area we may be adding even more). A subdivision with 500 homes could be contributing approximately 11,000 pounds of hazardous waste to our landfills every year. Not because we were careless, but because we did not know these items could be hazardous.

The majority of people would never consider their everyday garbage “hazardous”. However, by throwing away batteries or household light bulbs in the trash you are adding to the “toxic mixture” of hazardous chemicals which leach into the soil and eventually into our water supplies.

This is what we consider hazardous:

Mercury, old motor oil, drain cleaners and other cleaning products, lawn chemicals, solvents, anti-freezes, hobby chemicals as well as aerosol paints and CFL Florescent bulbs are all included in this list.

What we can do

Don’t pour unwanted cleaners and solvents into the water or drain. You can check with your local city to find out if there is a safe place for hazardous waste. One of my local fire stations takes this type of waste at certain weekends.

Handling electronics is different. Maybe your area hosts an annual collection of electronics? You can check with the local authority to find out what date you should set aside for your old printers, computers, cell phones, VCRs and TVs. These items should not be thrown away in the normal garbage. The local governments ask us to gather these items, so that they can be properly disposed.

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