The can of bug spray on the shelf… the toilet cleaner and drain opener in the cabinet… the old gas, lawn chemicals and paint stored in the garage… these products are all considered hazardous because the chemicals they contain pose a threat to human health and the environment.
Hazardous waste generated at your home is called Household Hazardous Waste (HHW). HHW is any flammable, toxic, corrosive or reactive product labeled “Danger”, “Warning”, or “Caution”, and none of these should be tossed into the regular trash.
Even when used as directed, many household chemicals can endanger health and safety and pose risks to children, pets, communities, wildlife and the environment.
Fortunately, there are convenient ways to safely dispose of your HHW. And for many of these products, there are safe alternatives that are readily available, easy to use, and often cheaper than their more dangerous counterparts.
Missouri residents who live in Cass, Clay, Platte, Jackson and Ray counties, have access to proper HHW disposal through the Regional Household Hazardous Waste Program. Residents who live in participating communities can dispose of HHW for no cost at one of two HHW facilities or numerous HHW collection events. Missouri residents who don’t live in participating communities can dispose of HHW for a fee at Summit Waste Systems in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.
Kansas residents who live in Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami, or Wyandotte counties can take their HHW to the HHW facility in their county for free.
Please note that these services are for residents only. Any hazardous waste not generated by a resident is classified as business hazardous waste by the states of Kansas and Missouri. This includes businesses, industry, manufacturing, rental property owners, nonprofits, governments, schools, churches, etc. It is illegal for these entities to take their hazardous waste to a residential collection facility or collection event. For more information, visit Business Hazardous Waste.
There are many safe alternatives to household chemicals. Baking soda, or Borax (a naturally occurring mineral) work well as mild, abrasive cleaners as alternatives to chlorine or silica-based scouring products. White vinegar is an all-purpose cleaner. It can be used on hard surfaces or glass as an alternative to ammonia-based cleaners and other corrosive products. Lemons are highly acidic, which makes them a strong cleaning agent. Plus, they provide a refreshing and clean scent.
For more information, including a list of recipes, visit Safe Alternatives.
Conventional paints contain several toxic chemicals: volatile organic compounds (VOCs), fungicides, biocides, and chemical pigments. When purchasing paint look for low VOC, low biocides and natural pigments.
Calculate the amount of paint you need for a project before buying to reduce the chance of running out before finishing the job, or having paint left over.
For more information on recycling, visit RecycleSpot.org.