When hazardous wastes such as paints, solvents, used oil, cleaners, pesticides, and other chemicals are improperly disposed, they can pose significant risks to public health and the environment. When they are thrown away in the trash, they end up in landfills, and these toxic compounds can leach into soil and water, polluting lakes and streams and making them unfit for drinking, swimming, fishing, and supporting wildlife.
Your waste hauler may be a valuable source of information on how to properly dispose of hazardous wastes in your area. Many states have also organized online “materials exchanges” that identify options for selling and donating products.
Also consider joining the EPA’s free WasteWise program, which provides members with several benefits, including a technical assistance team that can help you conduct a waste audit and reduce waste.
In addition to making sure these wastes are disposed of correctly, where possible, you should purchase less toxic and reusable products to reduce the amount of potentially hazardous wastes needing disposal. See the Purchasing section for more product purchasing tips.