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Household Hazardous Waste
What Is Household Hazardous Waste?
Some jobs around the home may require the use of products containing hazardous components. Such products may include paints, cleaners, stains, varnishes, batteries, oil and agricultural chemicals. The used or remaining contents of these products may be "household hazardous waste" when disposed. When improperly disposed, household hazardous waste can create a risk to human health and the environment.
Household waste is exempt from the North Dakota Hazardous Waste Rules. The term "household waste" refers to any waste material (including garbage, trash, and sanitary waste from septic tanks) derived from households (including single and multiple residences, hotels and motels, bunkhouses, ranger stations, crew quarters, campgrounds, picnic grounds, and day-use recreation areas). In order for household waste to be exempt from regulation, it must meet two criteria: the waste has to be generated by individuals on the premises of a household, and the waste must be composed primarily of materials found in the waste generated by consumers in their homes. Although the collection, transportation, treatment, and disposal of household wastes are not subject to the hazardous waste rules, they are subject to state and local requirements concerning management of solid waste.
What Are the Dangers of Improper Disposal?
Household hazardous wastes are sometimes disposed of improperly by pouring wastes down the drain, on the ground or into storm sewers. The dangers of such disposal methods may not be immediately obvious, but certain types of household hazardous waste have the potential to contaminate septic tanks or wastewater treatment systems if poured down drains or toilets; cause aquatic kills in rivers and streams and present hazards to children and pets.
Even Proper Disposal Can Be Dangerous.
Household hazardous wastes may be properly disposed with household wastes. Certain types of household hazardous wastes have the potential to cause physical injury to sanitation workers, children playing around waste receptacles and neighborhood pets. When disposing of household hazardous waste with household wastes, make sure to follow all label directions for proper disposal.
What Can I Do?
Move to Reduce and Recycle
One way to reduce the potential concerns associated with household hazardous waste is to take actions that use nonhazardous or less hazardous components to accomplish the task at hand. Individuals can do this by reducing the amount and/or toxicity of the products they choose. This can include learning about the toxicity of products and about appropriate alternatives to household items containing hazardous substances.
Recycling is an economical and environmentally sound way to handle some types of household hazardous waste, such as used automobile batteries and oil. It is illegal to dispose of used lead-acid batteries in the landfill. In North Dakota, used lead-acid batteries must be accepted by vendors of new batteries as trade-ins. North Dakota prohibits the disposal of used oil in the landfills. It is illegal to pour used oil on the ground or down a drain or sewer. It is also illegal to apply used oil to roads for dust suppression. Many service stations have begun collecting used oil as a service to their customers. Check with local solid waste officials to find out if a used oil recycling program is operating in your area.
Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days
Many communities have started special collection days or permanent collection
sites for handling household hazardous waste. On collection days, hazardous waste
contractors collect hazardous waste at a community location to ensure safe
waste disposal. Check with your local community or county agencies to see if
there is a household hazardous waste collection program in your area.
Community Household Hazardous Waste Collections
Minot Find under hazardous waste collection.
Updated: 20 Dec. 2011
Copyright © 2005 North Dakota Department of Health