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Environmental notice: Proper disposal of hazardous material

  • Published
  • By Stephanie Manry and Kenneth Johnson
  • 82nd Civil Engineer Squadron
A variety of chemical products are used when taking care of a home, yard and garden. Many of these products can contain hazardous chemicals. The Environmental Protection Agency defines four major types of hazardous wastes:

Corrosives can cause a chemical reaction that eats away materials or living tissue, for example, example, battery acid.

Toxics can cause illness or death, for example, pesticides, cleaning products, paints, photographic supplies and many art supplies.

Ignitables can catch fire spontaneously or burn easily, for example, charcoal lighter fluid, gasoline, kerosene, nail polish remover and various oils.

Reactives can react with air, water or other substances to cause rapid heating or explosions, for example, acids that heat up rapidly and spatter when mixed with water.

Even household chemicals can meet the requirements of more than one type of hazard.

For general disposal recommendations, follow the product label directions, reading it carefully and follow the manufacturer's recommendations.

Use it all - when products are completely used up, there is no hazardous waste.

Reduce - only buy the amount of product you will need. This not only reduces the waste, but can save money as well.

Reuse - when possible, reuse the product to help minimize the amount of hazardous waste that needs to be disposed of. This will also reduce the amount of waste going into local landfills.

Recycle - recycle means the product can be used for some other means, which also helps to minimize the amount of waste placed in landfills

Donate - donate paint, household cleaners or other products to a local charity, church or service organization for reuse.

Remember to ensure the products to be reused are stored in an approved container and labeled according to local, state and/or federal regulations. This not only helps get rid of the excess product, but it also helps someone else in need. It is difficult to eliminate all of the hazardous products from our daily lives. However, environmental impacts can be minimized by proper disposal of, or using up, of the products. Make sure the disposal method used is a safe one so that the hazardous waste does not contaminate the environment including storm water or drinking water.

For information related to household wastes such as aluminum cans, paper, plastic bottles, etc., call David Scarborough at 676-4600.

For additional information on household hazardous wastes visit the following sites:
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality website at
Environmental Protection Agency website at
Consumer Product Safety Council website at