Universal waste is defined by the EPA as hazardous waste consisting of items such as batteries, pesticides, and lamp bulbs. In all likelihood, you have many of these items around your house. Improper disposal of these items is common, particularly throwing these items in the trash. Fortunately, some tips can help you understand and even approach waste removal in a safer, more appropriate fashion.
Improper Battery Disposal Is a Fire Hazard
Believe it or not, improperly disposing batteries can be dangerous, particularly 9-volt batteries. Although it is not a common occurrence, disposing of batteries in a junk drawer or trash bag could pose a fire hazard.
All it takes is for a piece of metal, such as aluminum foil or a paperclip, to connect with the positive and negative charges at the top of the battery to create a spark. That spark could then ignite any nearby papers and cause a dangerous house fire.
Although the likelihood of such an occurrence is rare, the fact that there is a hazard at all is enough to warrant proper disposal of batteries. Contact a nearby waste disposal company and let them know that you have junk batteries that you would like to get rid of. They will be more than happy to get take care of them for you.
Improper Disposal of Pesticide Is a Water Hazard
The use of pesticides is not uncommon for homeowners. Homeowners such as yourself often have to use pesticides to control unwanted bugs that attack gardens or pests that enter the home, such as rodents and bugs. Unfortunately, many homeowners also improperly dispose of leftover pesticides.
It is common for a homeowner to dump pesticides into the toilet or sink drain. Although it may seem like a safe approach, considering that you are not dumping it on the ground, think again. The moment you dump pesticides into the drain, it can enter your local water treatment system.
Although water treatment plants have systems in place to help clean the water, pesticides can tax the system and pose the threat of illness to anyone who consumes the hazardous material. Instead, properly dispose of pesticides by rinsing the bottle using water and pouring the rinse water into a spray container.
Spray the solution for 30 seconds or more on an area listed on the pesticide label, and repeat the process another couple of times. Once you are finished, you can place the bottles in a bag and contact a local waste removal company. They can assist you in ensuring the proper disposal methods of pesticides.
Improper Disposal of Light bulbs Is an Environmental Hazard
High-efficiency light bulbs seem to be all the rage, particularly since homeowners are interested in saving money on their monthly energy bills. Once the light bulb finally serves its purpose and burns out, it likely ends up in the trash.
Unfortunately, tossing light bulbs in the trash is a bad idea. Trash bags end up in landfills, which means those broken light bulbs do too. High-efficiency light bulbs and fluorescent bulbs contain a small amount of mercury. Although a small amount of mercury may not seem like a big deal, it can add up between all of the improperly disposed of light bulbs.
Mercury can pose serious hazards to the environment. The mercury inside the bulbs can become a vapor once the bulb breaks. Breathing in that vapor can have a serious impact on the lungs and brain. Aside from that, mercury can also negatively impact wildlife.
Birds often circle landfills and rummage through the trash to scour for food and nest building supplies. Unfortunately, mercury can affect bird behavior and prove toxic to bird embryos. Rather than throwing your junk bulbs in the trash, dispose of them properly by taking them to your local waste management center.
If you have questions or concerns regarding any other items in your home, a waste management professional, such as those at Progressive Waste Solutions of FL Inc., can assist you. A professional can identify other potentially hazardous materials in and around your home that require professional disposal methods rather than simply tossing it in your trash bin.