Hazardous Materials

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What Are They?

The definition of a Hazardous Material from the book, The Chemistry of Hazardous Materials, by Eugene Meyer, states that a substance is considered to be a hazardous material when it is one of the following: "Flammable, Explosive, Corrosive, Toxic, Radioactive, or if it readily decomposes to oxygen at elevated temperatures." Also, by definition, the United States Department of Transportation defines a hazardous substance as a material capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported.
A common sense approach is that a material could be considered hazardous when it escapes its container and hurts or harms the thing it touches. This definition was from a Hazardous Material Response team leader who was realistic as to what Hazardous Materials really are.
The more aware people become of hazardous materials, waste products, and recyclable materials, the more questions arise as to where these materials can be disposed of and recycled.
Cities, towns, and villages have become more concerned with recycling. Paper goods, plastics, yard waste, and glass materials are now commonly being sorted for recycling or composting; however, the disposal of common household hazardous wastes has not been addressed. Corporations must dispose of controlled and hazardous wastes by hiring a waste management firm, yet household wastes are either dumped in the sewer or thrown in the garbage to be dumped at the local landfill, possibly with injurious effects to refuse employees or the environment.
In an effort to reduce the hazards and improve disposal methods the table shown below gives examples on how and where to dispose of common household hazardous materials. This list is not totally inclusive nor can it be considered the BIBLE of common household disposal, but it does have recommendations or ideas until a more effective and efficient means of disposal can be established.

Key to Disposal Codes

U - Use up according to label directions
T - Wrap and discard with other household trash
P - Pour down drain slowly with plenty of water
S - Save for a household hazardous waste collection program
D - Dry out and then discard with other household trash
R - Take to a Recycling center
 

Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Chart


Product
Disposal
Alternatives
AUTO SUPPLIES
 
 
Car Battery
R
Return to Mfg
Motor Oil
R
Waste Collection Site
Gasoline
S
Try to use it up
Antifreeze
R P
None
PAINT SUPPLIES
 
 
Latex Paints
U D
Waste Collection Site
Oil Based/Varnish
U S
 
Paint Thinner/Mineral Spirit
U S
Let paint settle/reuse
Paint Strip-Methylene Clrd
S
Most Dangerous
Paint Strip- Sodium Hyd
U S
 
HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS
 
 
Fluorescent/Lamp
S
 
Smoke Detectors-Defective
 
Return to Retailer
Household Batteries
R S
Use Rechargeable
Wood Preservatives
U S
 
Pressure Treated Wood
U S
Do NOT Burn
Adhesives/Caulks/Glue
U D S
Water Based will Dry
Asbestos
S
Encapsulate/Not Move
Lead Pip
R S
 
CLEANING SUPPLIES
 
 
Oven/Drain Cleaner
U S
Highly Caustic
Cleaning/Solvents
U S
 
Ammonia
U S
 
Chloride Bleach
U S
 
Spot Remover
U S
 
HOBBY/MISC
 
 
Artist Paints
U S
Contain Lead
Unmixed Solids
U
Return to Retailer
Used Solutions
R
Write to Kodak-Pub J52
Ceramic Glaze
T with Firing First
Some contain Lead
Solvents
U S
Reuse-Let solids settle
Resins/Epoxy
U
 
Empty Pesticide Containers
S
Do not Recycle
Banned pesticides
S
Very Dangerous
Legal Poison/Sprays
U S
 


 

 
 

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