Hazardous waste includes products that are toxic, corrosive, flammable, reactive or explosive (pressurized containers). Hazardous materials exhibit one or more of the following four hazardous traits:
- Ignitable Can burn easily ( fuel oil, gasoline, motor oil, kerosene, camping fuel, paint thinners, methyl hydrate, lighter fluids, contact cement, oil based paints, insect repellent, aerosol containers (that are not empty), furniture cleaners, paint brush cleaners and gasoline/oil mixtures).
- Reactive Can poison or damage living organisms (gas cylinders that carry propane or butane and aerosol cans containing unused product).
- Corrosive Can eat away at surfaces, including skin (bleach and household cleaners, rust removers, wax strippers, laundry stain removers, oven and drain cleaners and automotive lead-acid batteries).
- Toxic Can poison or damage living organisms. (solvents, batteries, antifreeze, medications, pesticides, fertilizers, wood stains and preservatives, radiator coolants, compact fluorescent light bulbs and any confirmed or suspected carcinogens).
Why should I be concerned about HHW?
Improper disposal of hazardous products can cause serious harm to the environment.
- It only takes a few drops of HHW to contaminate a drinking water source.
- Disposing of hazardous products in a landfill can contaminate our soil, water and wildlife.
- Disposing of hazardous products at the curb puts waste management workers at risk of medical problems such as eye injuries or chemical burns.
- Inhaling or absorbing chemical fumes may cause temporary or permanent injury.
- Chemicals stored in close proximity may interact in an undesirable way causing fires or explosions that could injure people and damage property and equipment.
- Disposing of hazardous products down drains or storm sewers may corrode plumbing and cause failure in septic systems and can contaminate harbours and coastal waters.
- If burned, HHW can release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere that can resettle or return as precipitation (acid rain) that can pollute both land and water.