Hazardous chemicals can be found in nearly every home and business. The chemicals that are generally used as cleaners and coatings can cause injury if they are ignitable, corrosive, toxic or reactive. When these products from private residences are no longer needed or have expired, the EPA classifies them as Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) and special handling and disposal procedures need to be followed.
Lighter fluid, linseed oil, lawnmower gasoline, paint and varnishes are all examples of ignitable wastes that are commonly found in households. Bleach, ammonia, drain cleaners, lime and calcium removers and some concentrated soaps are corrosive, which makes them effective at removing dirt and grit buildup but also makes them harmful when they come in contact with skin. Also, when these products are mixed with each other they may react and release fumes that can irritate or damage the respiratory tract. Two types of chlorine used in swimming pools, (tri chlor and di chlor) when mixed together violently react and explode. Chlorine and fuel also react and cause fire. Lawn fertilizers and gasoline can also react; if mixed, and cause severe damage to persons or buildings.
As Household Hazardous Waste, these products should not be released into the environment or put with household trash. Many cities and municipalities offer free disposal of Household Hazardous Waste for their residents at collection centers or mobile events (See links below for DFW area). If these same hazardous wastes come from a business, they are not considered household hazardous waste and must be disposed of through a licensed contractor like any other hazardous waste.
The EPA also has a classification for Universal Wastes, which are widely generated by homes and businesses. These wastes are regulated under 40 CFR part 273 and include batteries, light bulbs, mercury containing equipment and pesticides. These wastes are exempt from reporting and other requirements needed for hazardous wastes but they must still be recycled or disposed of properly.
Since universal and hazardous wastes should not be disposed of with municipal waste and should never be mixed together or added to other materials, it is wise to contact a reputable and professional company to handle disposal. Protect Environmental is ready to help businesses categorize, consolidate and manage their wastes in a way that is economical, limits liability and keeps hazardous chemicals out of the environment.
Fort Worth Environmental Collection Center:
Dallas Household Hazardous Waste Program: