Hazardous Materials

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.

Household Hazardous Waste Disposal

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.