Reducing Waste Toxicity

In addition to reducing the amount of material in the solid waste stream, reducing waste toxicity is another component of source reduction. Some jobs around the home require the use of products containing hazardous components. Nevertheless, toxicity reduction can be achieved by following some simple guidelines.

Using nonhazardous or less hazardous components. Examples include choosing reduced mercury batteries and planting marigolds in the garden to ward off certain pests rather than using pesticides. In some cases, less toxic chemicals can be used to do a job; in others, some physical methods, such as sandpaper, scouring pads, or more physical exertion, can accomplish the same results as toxic chemicals. When hazardous components are used, using only the amount needed. Used motor oil can be recycled at a participating service station. Leftover products with hazardous components should not be placed in food or beverage containers. For products containing hazardous components, following all directions on the product labels. Containers must be labelled properly. For leftover products containing hazardous components, checking with the local environmental agency or chamber of commerce for any designated days for the collection of waste material such as leftover paints, pesticides, solvents, and batteries. Some communities have permanent household hazardous waste collection facilities that accept waste year around.

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