Common Household Items Not to Throw Away

Summertime cleaning is sure to hit many households in the coming months. From donating unwanted clothes to finally scrubbing the baseboards, a deep clean of one’s house is sure to leave everything feeling fresh and sanitized. When rummaging through those unwanted items, make sure you avoid tossing some common household supplies. While these items may appear to only be occupying space, their toxicity can pose environmental problems if not disposed of correctly. Here are some items to avoid chunking in the trash:

Used Paint – Paints, especially oil-based paints, contain toxic solvents that are also highly flammable. Varnishes, stains and other paints should be taken to your local government’s facility for hazardous materials.

Motor Oil – It’s actually illegal to toss motor oil outside our dump it down the drain. Not only does it contain harmful materials, it also carries high risk of contaminating nearby soil and water. Motor oil should be placed in a plastic container, sealed tightly and dropped off at a recycle center or a service station that accepts used oil.

CFL Lightbulbs – Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) are environmentally friendly – until they hit your trashcan. These energy-saving bulbs contain high levels of mercury, which can be released into trash when broken. Use an approved recycling center when it comes time to dispose of these bulbs.

Batteries – Batteries contain many chemicals, and rechargeable batteries as well as lithium ion batteries should be handled carefully. Neither a recycling center nor your trashcan should ever see these items. Some electronics stores, such as Best Buy, will collected used batteries and properly recycle them.

Car Fluids – These items may include antifreeze, engine oil and wiper fluid. Any liquids that come from your car have a high potential to be toxic. Local facilities that collect hazardous waste are the best places to take unwanted car fluids.

Electronics Equipment – So you’ve decided to finally throwaway that broken TV or mobile phone. Well don’t! Electronics items such as speakers, radios and DVD players can contain poisonous substances that shouldn’t be tossed into the trash. Local recycling facilities may accept some of these items, so consider checking with them to see if they can take unwanted electronics off your hands.

If you have a question on the best way to dispose of these items or any other questionable materials, contact your local Department of Sanitation or Department of Public Works. The employees at these facilities are trained to understand correct ways to dispose of materials that can be potentially hazardous. Keep in mind that while some substances may seem harmless, the moment they come into contact with water or heat can cause them to release toxic materials into water reservoirs and poison local soil and produce.

When it comes time to finally do a clean sweep of your house, make sure to keep these items far away from the trashcan. Properly disposing of them makes all the difference to ecosystems both small and large!

Georgia Oilmen’s Services offers environmental consulting and remediation for businesses, financial institutions and government agencies across Atlanta and the state of Georgia.

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