Have you created your own toxic waste dump in your home or garage? Over time, it’s easy to collect a variety of fuels, solvents, pesticides, and paints. While useful, these items are considered “household hazardous waste” when discarded, and can pose a threat to trash haulers and landfill operators, as well as making their way into our air and water.
What to Do
First, read and follow all label directions for use, storage, and disposal of these items. Next, rather than throw out the unused product, maybe you can find another use for it by giving it to a neighbor or a non-profit group that has a use for it. Finally, consider taking your household hazardous waste to a facility in your area that accepts them.
Many fire extinguishers purchased from home improvement stores are not re-fillable. If you have one of these units, check the gauge on the front - if it indicates that the nitrogen gas inside has leaked out, the extinguisher is no longer usable. The extinguisher can be discarded with your regular trash due to the non-toxic nature of the dry chemical power within.
For sales, service and inspection of commercial grade extinguishers, please consult the internet or Yellow Pages as the fire department does not perform these services.
If you are an Arapahoe County resident there is a service that will collect household waste (for a $20 fee). Douglas County holds regular waste “roundups,” which are supported by donations (proof of residency required). Please view Tri County Health Department's website for details of household chemical roundups at http://www.tchd.org/250/Home-Chemical-Waste.
Colorado’s Department of Public Health and the Environment has plenty more information about how to lessen the impacts of household hazardous waste, including dos and don’ts and disposal options for products commonly found in the house, garage, and for use in the yard.