blog: Disposing of hazardous waste |

blog: Disposing of hazardous waste

Pallavi Mukerjee
Vail CO, Colorado

Last week we discussed what constitutes a ‘Household Hazardous Waste Product’.

We also discussed the upcoming new household hazardous waste facility in the Eagle County Landfill. This facility will take a few months to be constructed and we will inform the public when we finish construction and open the doors to the public.

At present we request no calls to the landfill, about the upcoming HHW facility. This facility will collect household hazardous waste from the residents and manage and dispose it in an appropriate manner.

The most significant question is-“Why should household hazardous waste be managed and disposed properly?

Why can we not throw these products in the trash, or dump them in the sinks?

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It is so much easier and we don’t need to spend more time or attention on it.

“Out of sight, out of mind.” Right Approach?? NO- in fact, all of the above are completely wrong options as there are numerous dangers associated with the improper disposal of household hazardous waste. I have listed them below:

Dangers of Improper Disposal-

When household hazardous products are used, stored and disposed according to the label directions, they pose little or no danger to people or the environment.

However, improper use, and disposal of these products, endangers the health and safety of people and animals, pollutes the neighborhood, and contaminates the environment.

If a household hazardous waste product is flushed down a toilet, sink, or drain, it is transported though the sewage system to treatment plants that is not equipped to handle hazardous waste.

At treatment plants, hazardous waste interferes with the biological treatment process, and can contaminate the effluent that runs into the ocean. It also interferes with the bio-solids that can’t be reused as fertilizer.

When hazardous waste is thrown out into the street, it goes down storm drains leading into area waterways, impacting the rivers.

When it is left around the house, it has the potential to injure children and pets.

Since household hazardous waste is not regulated by any federal, state, or local agency, it can be disposed of with regular trash without any penalty or liability.

However, when thrown in with the regular trash, household hazardous waste can injure sanitation workers and may end up in landfills not intended or permitted for those types of wastes.

This can create hazardous leach ate which can contaminate groundwater and surface water.

So now that we know that it is dangerous to dispose household hazardous waste incorrectly, the next logical question is- ‘Are there any benefits to proper HHW management’? I have listed some of them below:

Benefits of Proper HHW Management:

Reduction and Recycling of HHW conserves resources and energy that would be expended in the production of more products.

Reuse of hazardous household products can save money and reduce the need for generating hazardous substances.

Proper disposal prevents pollution that could endanger human health and the environment.

What can you do as a community and individually?

All of us have an important part to play in reducing pollution and protecting human health and the environment. Next week we will discuss how we can safely use, monitor and dispose of hazardous waste products at home, towards the above objective…

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