What is considered to be hazardous waste?
When we think of hazardous waste, we usually think of large factories manufacturing or using exotic chemicals, sometimes disposing of waste through huge pipes or dumping poisonous sludge into a river. We seldom think of hazardous waste as something we find in our own homes. Many household products contain the same chemicals produced and used by industry. Some of the more common household hazardous waste include, insecticides, herbicides, cleaners, medicines, solvents, paints, fuels, batteries and an assortment of automotive products.
Electronics - Most computers monitors and TV's contain a cathode ray tube (CRT) which can contain 3 to 6 pounds of lead, a hazardous material that should not be landfilled or burned in Waste to Energy facilities. In addition, computers and other electronic equipment contains small amounts of mercury and hexavalent chromium which also should not be burned or landfilled. Working electronics can be donated to Goodwill Services (576.7145).
Electronics are picked up every Thursday at the curb. Place them out on your regular day of service and we will collect on the next Thursday. We will collect this e-waste and deliver to the Leon County Solid Waste Management Facility for proper recycling and disposal. You can also bring your E-waste to one of our semi-annual Cash for Trash events. You can also take other electronics to the Leon County Electronics Recycling Program (606.1802) located at the Leon County Solid Waste Management Facility, 7550 Apalachee Parkway.
Where can I take my household hazardous waste to properly dispose of it?
Wondering what to do with all those bottles, boxes and barrels of environmentally unfriendly chemicals you've stashed away in the garage, behind the house, in the closet, under the sink, in the trunk, under the bed? You know you shouldn't throw such things in the trash, or pour them on the ground or down the drain, but how can you dispose of household hazardous waste in a responsible way?
Leon County operates a permanent hazardous waste collection center at the Leon County Solid Waste Management Facility on Apalachee Parkway, 4.5 miles east of Capital Circle. The Center is open from 8-5 Monday through Saturday. Call 606.1803 for more information. You can also check the schedule for Leon County's hazardous waste Roundups or call Leon County's Hazardous Waste Division at 606.1803. County staff will accept, free of charge, all your household hazardous waste, such as paints, solvents, pesticides, pool chemicals, fluorescent lamps, auto batteries, rechargeable batteries, and caustic cleaners.
Please exercise care in transporting your hazardous waste. If a container is leaking, put it inside another larger container or inside a sturdy zip-lock bag. Do not allow different products to mix together! (You may be rewarded by an impromptu chemistry lesson.) If the original product label is missing or illegible, please attach as much information about the substance that you accurately know. (For example, "Pesticide used on roses.") Load the items into your vehicle in such a way that the containers won't break or spill, drive carefully to the collection site and hand over your hazardous hoard to the professionals there.
Another Good Idea
Do you need a small amount of fertilizer, paints, stains or other household chemicals? Take a look at the Leon County Swap Shop at the Leon County Solid Waste Management Facility where you can take up to 5 items each visit rather than purchasing a full container you'll need to dispose of later. Any unused portions can be returned to the Swap Shop.
Small Quantity Generator Programs
Businesses that are Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators (CESQG) can take their recyclables and hazardous wastes to the Leon County Hazardous Waste Collection Center located at the Leon County Solid Waste Management Facility. There is a charge for CESQG commercial customers, but it is significantly less than using commercial disposal and recycling facilities. Small Quantity Generators (SQG's) and Large Quantity Generators (LQG's) can not use Leon County's Hazardous Waste Collection Center for recyclables and hazardous wastes. SQG and LQG must utilize commercial disposal and recycling companies.
How do I help prevent pollution from common materials found in my household?
- Do not dump leftover product. It may be illegal and it may contaminate the soil, water or air.
- Do not burn used or leftover products or product containers. Burning may produce toxic fumes.
- Do not bury leftover products or containers.
- Do not reuse pesticide or other chemical containers for other purposes.
- Do not mix chemical products or waste.
- Do not put any liquids in the trash (paints, solvents, aerosol cans, etc.).
- Do not put toxic materials such as pesticides in the trash or sewer.
- Do not place fluorescent lamps (tubes) in the trash.
- Do not allow cardboard boxes containing fluorescent lamps or mercury containing devises to get wet.
- Do not put products containing heavy metals (mercury, lead, nickel, chromium, cadmium etc.) such as rechargeable batteries in the trash. Take them to a Hazard Waste Collection Center in your area.
Where can I find Hazardous Waste in the home?
||Garage: Motor oil, gasoline, fuel oil, antifreeze, brake and transmission fluid, parts cleaner, batteries (car, lawn mower, boat etc.) , lighter fluid, pool chemicals, insecticides and herbicides.
||Workshop: Paint ( oil or lead based ), stains, varnish, glue, paint thinner, turpentine, solvents, oils, some caulks, rust remover.
||General: Fluorescent lights (the long tubes commonly used for lighting kitchens and bathrooms or the new CFLs), rechargeable batteries, watch batteries, thermometers and switches containing mercury.
Why we should be concerned with proper disposal of hazardous waste?
The environmentally hazardous products from a single home may seem insignificant, but when thousands of homes use similar products and dispose of them down the drain, or place them into the household garbage container, the combined effect becomes a major problem. Improper disposal allows these materials to enter the environment directly, with the potential of affecting water quality, wildlife and people.