05 July 2012

Handling Toxic Household Waste

Many sustainable living practices are a matter of making new habits and making things convenient.  Every household will have some kind of toxic waste to deal with: leftover paints, oil and oil containers from the car, old batteries, blown compact fluorescent light bulbs etc. Dealing with hazardous materials can be easier if you have a system in place in your home for dealing with them.

For example, choose a safe place in your home where hazardous materials can be stored until you’re able to dispose of them.  Keep like items together.  For example, have a container for storing batteries, one for storing paints, etc.

Choose a regular time to take hazardous materials to the proper disposal center.  For example, you could take paints and batteries two or three times yearly. Check with your local council (in Victoria you'll find a list of council waste and recycling depots at Sustainability Victoria) for the appropriate place to take the waste, sometimes it is an area at the tip, sometimes it can be a totally separate depot just for dealing with toxic wastes.  For other toxic waste the Resourcesmart website has an ABC of Household Chemical Waste Disposal which lists the various agencies that handle the different types of waste in Victoria. Check with state government website for similar services in your locality.

You can also make sure to check your medicine cabinet twice yearly for excess and expired medications.

Part of keeping the planet healthy and keep your home healthy is minimizing the hazardous materials you use in the first place.  By making as many choices as you can of non-toxic materials, you can limit the number of hazardous materials of which you need to dispose.

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