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How to Properly Dispose of Hazardous Waste

Posted By On August 26 2021
How to properly dispose of hazardous waste

When you are disposing of garbage other than food and paper at home, you might be surprised to find that much of what you are throwing in the trash is considered hazardous waste. Household hazardous waste consists of anything that is corrosive, flammable, explosive, or poisonous. These items cannot just be tossed in your garbage or blue bin, and in fact will be left at the curb by your friendly GTA garbage pickup.

And don’t think you can take the sneaky route and pour it down the drain, into the sewer, or flush it down the toilet. If caught doing so, you could face some pretty hefty fines. You can also cause damage to your plumbing, as many of these items are highly corrosive. So, what is a person to do when they have hazardous waste? Here’s our guide to properly dispose of hazardous household materials.

Read the Label

Before tossing household products in the garbage, always look at the label. If you spot any of the following symbols, then the product is considered hazardous:

  • Skeletal hand
  • Flames inside an octagon
  • Explosion in a triangle
  • Skull and crossbones

Disposing of any of these things in the garbage, blue bin, or into the sewage system is not only illegal, but can also cause harm to the environment, local wildlife, and of course your neighbours and family members.

Why is proper disposal important?

First, if you simply toss these items in the garbage, it puts waste workers at risk. It is possible for them to inhale the substances, or have chemicals leak onto their clothes or skin, which can lead to skin conditions. As well, it creates the risk for chemicals seeping into local soil, leaking into our waterways, or even being dispersed into our air.

Many of these hazardous items are in pressurized containers, which can increase risk for fire or explosions. If you try to dispose of hazardous waste down the drain or toilet, they enter the sewage system and can contaminate water, not to mention cause serious damage to the sewage system and your own plumbing.

Items Considered Hazardous Waste

If you still aren’t sure about an item once you read the product label, use this GTA guide for household hazardous waste:

Car and Garage Products

  • Antifreeze
  • Car batteries
  • Brake fluid
  • Body filler
  • Car wax with solvent
  • Motor oil (new and used)
  • Fuel (gasoline, diesel, kerosene)
  • Oil filters (new and used)
  • Windshield washer fluid

Personal Care Products

  • Alcohol-based lotions (aftershave, perfume, etc.)
  • Medication and vitamins
  • Nail polish and remover
  • Syringes and medical sharps must be put in a puncture-resistant sealed container
  • Non-empty aerosol cans

Household Cleaning Products

  • Ammonia-based cleaners
  • Abrasive powders
  • Bleach
  • Drain cleaners
  • Floor and furniture polish
  • Metal and oven cleaner
  • Disinfectants
  • Glass and mirror cleaner
  • Rug and upholstery cleaner
  • Silver polish

Pesticides and Garden Products

  • Poisons (ant, rat, bug, etc.)
  • Fertilizers
  • Fungicides
  • Insecticides
  • Weed killers (herbicides)

Paints, Solvents, Glue

  • Spray paint
  • Latex, oil, and water-based paint
  • Paint strippers
  • Primers
  • Rust removers
  • Stains
  • Thinners
  • Turpentine
  • Wood preservatives
  • Glue

Other

  • Air freshener
  • Batteries (all types)
  • Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)
  • Cooking oil
  • Fluorescent tubes
  • Propane/helium tanks
  • Swimming pool chemicals
  • Mercury thermometers
  • Lighter fluid

You can place completely empty containers such as metal paint cans with lids removed in the recycling bin.

Best Practices for Hazardous Waste Disposal

There are several options for disposing of hazardous waste safely. However, it depends on whether you live in a house or apartment and the type of waste. Here are the proper options:

Toronto’s Toxic Taxi

This is a free service for homeowners, but it comes with some considerations including:

  • There is a restriction with a minimum of 10 litres/kilograms and maximum of 50 litres/kilograms per pickup.
  • You have to schedule the pickup.
  • The pickup item needs to be placed at the front of your own property and can’t be left on the curb, sidewalk, or street.
  • Liquid materials must be sealed in non-leaking containers.
  • You need to sort all the different types of hazardous materials and label each container.

If you live in an apartment, co-op building, or condo, speak to your property manager or superintendent to find out what they recommend for hazardous waste disposal.

Drop-Off Depots That Accept HHW

There are drop-off locations throughout the GTA, but they only accept certain materials, and you’ll have to risk damage to your vehicle in transporting them. You also might face a long lineup depending on what depot you choose. Avoid Community Environment Days, as these tend to be the busiest.

Orange Drop Program

This is specific to pressurized cylinders, antifreeze/coolant, empty oil containers, and oil filters. They offer multiple sites throughout the GTA.

Pharmacies

If you have old medications or used needles, you can drop them off at most local pharmacies. If this is all you have to dispose of, then this is the easiest option.

Product Care Association

These guys have various locations in the GTA, but again are limited to what they take such as paints, solvents, fertilizers, pesticides, etc.

Battery Recycling Programs

These locations are quite varied, so you’ll need to search for the one closest to you. They only accept batteries.

Junk Removal Service Toronto

This can prove to be the easiest and most convenient option when you have a lot of hazardous waste. You don’t need to worry about taking various types of waste to different services, meeting a minimum or maximum weight for the waste, or trekking to several locations using your own vehicle to dispose of the garbage.

Instead, you make a single call to set up a disposal bin delivery, you fill the dumpster and we take it away. No fuss, no muss. No need to worry about labeling and sealing containers, sorting, or special instructions for pickup. Although you have to pay for the dumpster rental that households rely on, it is worth it for larger jobs, such as prior to a move, during or after renovations, or if you tend to hold onto things too long.

For more information, contact our team at Scarborough Disposal today

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