Many materials and products in the home can be harmful to your health and our environment. Household hazardous waste can be generated during cleanouts, general upkeep and cleaning of your home, and during renovations. It is important to note that items such as fluorescent bulbs, thermostats, thermometers, and certain antique items may contain mercury, a toxic element that can lead to expensive environmental and health issues, if spilled. These items are an example of universal waste. Household cleaners, pesticides, and paints such as oil-based paints, paint thinners, and used motor oil, are classified as hazardous waste and also should never go into the trash. Many communities have universal waste collection at their drop off centers and/or hold hazardous waste collection days for residents to bring these items for proper disposal. Please check with your city or town to find out when upcoming days are scheduled.
When spring cleaning, don’t forget your good recycling habits. If you have questions about what is recyclable in Massachusetts, check out MassDEP’s RecycleSmart
, Recyclopedia. Did you know that plastic bags and other tanglers are the biggest problems in our recycling stream?
The Center for EcoTechnology
(CET) is partnered with Covanta to keep mercury and other difficult to manage items out of the waste stream. CET is an environmental nonprofit that helps businesses and people save energy and reduce waste. Covanta’s Energy-From-Waste facilities in Rochester and Haverhill generate enough electricity to power over 100,000 homes with clean renewable energy.