How To Safely Dispose Toxic Cleaners
If you're making the switch to green cleaners one obstacle is clearing out your cupboard of all the conventional toxic cleaners you already have. You can't just toss most cleaners down the sink or outside because the chemicals from said cleaners can be just as toxic to the environment as paint or other hazardous materials and will end up in the soil and water. Here's how to deal...
Step one - sort out which household cleaners are worth keeping and which cleaners you should toss. Read how to choose store bought green cleaners to help you sort out the bad cleaners from the not so bad. You can also visit Purdue University for a very nice round up of Household Hazardous Waste. The site takes you on a tour of a virtual home and shows you which typical harmful cleaners you'll find in each room. Items like household cleaners, auto fluids, pesticides, and paints are covered.
Step two - set aside the toxic chemicals you want to dispose of. In some cases experts note that it's best to use a product up rather than dump it. For example use up the last of your lawn pesticides then simply don't buy more. However, since toxic chemicals and pesticides are still around your house and your family, you can just get rid of them so long as you dispose of them properly (see below).
Step three - find a proper disposal method. Here is where your options may get tricky. Not all states have the same resources for getting rid of toxic chemicals.
- If you live in San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles or New York see Apartment Therapy for an informative post Where to Get Rid of Your Toxic Household Cleaners.
- Anyone can do a basic search at Earth 911 recycling centers that accept unused household cleaners.
- Your local recycling center is a good place to start a search. While not all centers take toxic household chemicals they should be able to tell you who can.
- You can be patient. Many areas don't have all year drop off sites for household hazardous waste, but will open collection sites on special days during the year. Check with your state environmental agencies for information about special collection dates in individual states.
- Set up a collection event. The manual - Household Hazardous Waste Management: A Manual for One-Day Community Collection Programs at the EPA tells you how to set up an event in your community.