Toxic Waste in the Neighborhood

While paper and plastic products have always been recycled at our house, until recently we were unaware of how to dispose to toxic waste products in our home. Yes, our home contains toxic wastes.

What are some of the toxic wastes in the home? Batteries, pills and paint.

In 2008, I learned the proper way to dispose of these items. I had always tossed 9-volt, AA and AAA batteries in our trash which makes its way to a landfill. These small household batteries can leak acids into the ground and the water table. Now, I collect the few household batteries we use, until our city has a hazardous wastes collection day. Sure, my few batteries may not be hazardous, but add them to the dead batteries tossed out by the other half million consumers in my city. Well, you get the idea.


I also used to put unused or expired pills in the trash. Later, I heard to flush them down the toilet. Wrong! Again, prescription and non-prescription drugs can be hazardous to our health. If you toss them in your trash, mix them with cat litter which will absorb any toxins from getting to the ground and water. Never flush them down the toilet, as the water with the pills makes it way into our water supply. Not only does cousin Nellie’s birth control pills affect the rest of us, but fish and other wildlife are harmed by our drugs. I once heard that the amount of birth control pills in the water in the Everglades was causing more male alligators to be born. Unfortunately, these alligators did not or could not reproduce. Again, I collect the medicines we do not use and take them to the hazardous wastes collection day.

Today, as I was walking in the neighborhood, I noticed paint spilled on the pavement. Paint, not just the lead based variety, is toxic to the environment. Paint poured into streams will kill fish, frogs and any other wildlife. In 2009 find places in your community that recycle or reuse paint.

NP NowPublic

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