What is Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)?
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Household Hazardous Wastes (HHW) are those wastes produced in our households that are hazardous in nature, but are not regulated as hazardous waste, under federal and state laws. Each person in Pennsylvania produces an average of four pounds of HHW each year or about 25,000 tons/yr. statewide. HHW, if carelessly managed, can and frequently does, create environmental and public health hazards.
How to Identify HHW:
Generally, HHW materials belong to one of the following hazardous waste categories:
Corrosives have an extremely low or high pH and can burn skin and mucous membranes. Examples include drain cleaners, rust removers and oven cleaners.
Flammables are easily set on fire or readily combustible. Examples are gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil, butane, oil-based paints and paint thinners.
Oxidizers are chemicals that react strongly with other compounds and may cause fires or explosions. Examples include chlorinated pool chemicals, household bleach and hydrogen peroxide.
Toxic materials are poisonous and/or carcinogenic to humans and/or wildlife. Examples are pesticides, solvents, and cleaning agents.
Air Quality Hazardous materials can cause excessive emissions or toxic ash problems at resource recovery facilities. Examples include thermostats, smoke detectors and nickel, cadmium, lithium or lead batteries.
Unknowns are unidentified materials , such as those that contain no label or ingredient information. Unknown materials should be treated as thought they belong to one of the above categories until proven otherwise.
Why is Household Hazardous Waste a Potential Problem?
- Improper storage or use of hazardous products in the home can increase the risk of accidental poisoning or injury.
- Disposal of household hazardous wastes in regular garbage could injure sanitation workers. Some products are chemically incompatible, and may lead to fires in dumpsters or garbage trucks.
- Pouring waste down the drain puts it directly into septic tanks or sewage treatment plants that may not be able to filter out or properly treat hazardous materials. This can lead to the contamination of groundwater or surface waters where treatment plants discharge.
What Can You Do About Household Hazardous Waste?
- The best way to manage HHW is to avoid creating it. Select the least toxic product to do the job and buy only as much as you need. Learn more about alternatives for household hazardous products here: www.epa.gov/saferchoice
- Store hazardous products in their original containers.
- If the product is still usable, donate it to a community group.
- As a York County resident, you can bring your HHW to the York County Solid Waste Authority’s annual Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program or use the “At Your Door Special Collection” Program.
York County Solid Waste Authority’s FREE Annual Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program:
The Authority’s annual HHW Waste Collection Program is conducted every May on the first Saturday of the month from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. There is no fee for York County residents to participate. Businesses and government entities are not eligible to participate.
This event in 2017 will be conducted at 915 Woodland View Drive, York, PA 17406, NOT at the Authority’s Yard Waste Transfer Site off of Flour Mill Road, as in prior years.
Residents can safely manage HHW by bringing it to this free household hazardous waste collection program. The Authority provides this service as part of our integrated waste management system and through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. After collection, HHW is transported to hazardous waste facilities that safely recycle the materials collected.
Accepted items include: thermometers containing mercury; liquid mercury; smoke detectors; auto fluids such as transmission fluid, brake fluids and antifreeze; car batteries; rechargeable batteries such as Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Ion (Li-ion), and Small Sealed Lead (Pb); driveway sealant; compact fluorescent light bulbs and fluorescent lamps; gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel and butane; herbicides and pesticides; household cleaners; chemistry kits; photographic chemicals and pool chemicals.
Unacceptable items: explosives; propane tanks; ammunition; radioactive waste; alkaline batteries (may be disposed of in your regular garbage) and latex or oil-based paint (may be disposed of in your regular garbage, click here for preparation instructions)
“At Your Door Special Collection” For HHW:
Residents may register online at www.wmatyourdoor.com or call 1-800-449-7587 Monday-Friday from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM to schedule a pick-up. Plastic kit bags are mailed to the customer prior to the scheduled pick-up date. Residents may schedule two pick-ups per home, per calendar year and can request up to two kit bags per pick-up. The “At Your Door Special Collection” pick-up service requires a $15 co-pay for each service call.
For more information and a list of acceptable materials, please go to: www.wmatyourdoor.com