Americans generate an estimated 1.6 million tons of household hazardous waste (HHW) every year.
HHW is common household chemicals and substances for which the owner no longer has a use. It tends to be containers of half-used chemicals that accumulate under the kitchen sink, on the shelves in the garage and stacked up in the shed and barn. These materials pile up because they are no longer needed, but homeowners are unsure of the proper way to dispose of the items.
Compiling a comprehensive list of HHW is nearly impossible so it may be helpful to provide some general guidance on how to identify these types of materials. A good rule of thumb to use when pinpointing HHW around your home is the use of caution words that will be on the containers’ labels–words such as “flammable”, “toxic”, “poison” and “caution” all indicate that the chemical should be treated as HHW when it’s time to dispose of it.