Properly dispose of household hazardous waste.

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Month

The average home can accumulate as much as 100 pounds of household hazardous waste. This includes paints, heavy-duty cleaners, oils, batteries and pesticides that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable or reactive ingredients--all the stuff that accumulates under sinks and in utility closets, basements, garages and sheds. If kept for too long, many of these products give off carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can sneak into the living spaces of the house, posing a risk to those inside. There is also a heightened danger that a child or pet might be poisoned or harmed. Problems also occur if household hazardous waste is not properly disposed of. One spilled batch of used motor oil can contaminate a million gallons of freshwater after it washes down your driveway and into storm drains.

Follow these suggestions to safely rid your home of and reduce your future exposure to household hazardous waste:

* Collect all your hazardous waste from under the sink, storage closets and sheds, as well as the basement and garage and make arrangements to safely dispose of it. Many communities offer a variety of options for conveniently and safely managing this. Check with your community’s sanitation department or earth911.com to find out where in your town you can recycle or safely dispose of these materials.

* Recycle used motor oil at a car dealership, oil-change specialist or repair shop.

* Antifreeze made of ethylene glycol may be sweet-smelling, but it is lethal. Your best bet is to let a mechanic change your antifreeze and handle general car maintenance; most have access to recyclers of antifreeze and oil filters that consumers don’t have.

* Conventional varieties of fertilizer, when carried by stormwater runoff to the ocean, can cause algae blooms that threaten fish and other aquatic life. Use certified organic brands instead. To avoid runoff, use fertilizers sparingly.

* Exposure to household pesticides is linked to asthma, cancer and neurological damage. Properly dispose of pesticides as instructed by your sanitation department, and substitute least toxic alternatives. Click here to find out how to get rid of ants and other pests without using harmful products.

* There are many alternative household products on the market today that don’t contain hazardous ingredients. Use Label Lookup to find cleaning products and paints that are safer and better for the environment.

Removing hazardous waste from your house costs nothing other than time.