It would be difficult to eliminate all the hazardous products from our lives. However, we can minimize the environmental problems from their improper use and disposal by:
- Using non-toxic alternatives. For example, clear a drain with a metal snake instead of a chemical drain opener
- Buying only what you need. If there is no waste, you don't have to store it or throw it away.
- Comparing labels and contents when buying. If a less toxic product will work just as well, buy it.
- Using products according to label directions.
- Never mixing products. Dangerous reactions can occur.
Other ways we can reduce environmental problems:
Use it up.
When products are fully used up as intended there is no hazardous waste. Buy only as much as you need. Don't buy a gallon of paint, pesticide or specialty cleaner when a quart will do. The large container may cost less per ounce, but leftovers must be stored or dispose of so as not to harm people or the environment.
Donate what you don't use.
Donate paint, household cleaners or other products to a local charity, church or service organization. Theater groups, the local housing authority or a neighbor may be happy to accept small quantities of usable paint or cleaning products.
Recycle what you do use.
You can recycle paint thinner at home. Pour paint thinner or cleaner into a jar. Let it sit for several days. The solids will settle to the bottom. When the liquid at the top of the jar is clear, pour it into a container that can be sealed until future use. If pouring stirs up the solids, pour the clear liquid through a funnel lined with old sheet fabric. Dispose of the dried solids in your trash.
Oil and transmission fluids from your car and lawn mower can be recycled. Ask the Extension Home Economics Agent in your county if a collection program is available in your area. Most gas stations and stores that sell auto batteries also will recycle them.