For each month of 2016, I plan to highlight a simple, easy tip to help you to contribute to a better, cleaner, greener environment. All of the tips will be either little or no cost, easy to do, and help you generally be a better local and global citizen.
For my first post, I will cover how to dispose of hazardous waste. During this post-Christmas, pre-Spring-cleaning time of year, it’s the perfect time to cover this topic.
Hazardous waste includes items like household cleaners, paint, automotive products, pesticides, fluorescent light bulbs, batteries of any kind, and e-waste (computers, cell phones, or almost any other electronic device). These items should NEVER be placed in your curbside bin, flushed down the drain, or dumped in the storm drain. They are toxic to plants, animals and humans and must be disposed of properly.
Some items (rechargeable batteries, CFL’s) can easily be disposed of at your local home improvement store. For example, the Lowe’s in Rancho Santa Margarita has waste bins for these items conveniently located by the customer service area. I know, the photo is not great, but here is what the bin at that store looks like:
Cell phones can generally be returned to your carrier or donated to charities, like Cell Phones for Soldiers.
Many local schools and organizations collect e-waste such as computers, monitors and digital cameras as a fundraising opportunity. Our local high school has a collection event next month.
But other items like paint, motor oil, and pesticides may be a bit trickier. That’s where the hazardous waste services come into play. These free services are located in most counties. There are four here in Orange County – Irvine, Anaheim, Huntington Beach and San Juan Capistrano.
Maybe you think it takes too much time, or it’s a hassle, or “it won’t make a difference if I just throw these few batteries in the regular trash can.”
So to demonstrate just how quick and easy it is, here is a video I did a few years ago for my OC Family blog where I take you along on a trip to Orange County’s household hazardous waste collection center in Irvine.
The trip didn’t turn out exactly as I planned (or maybe didn’t plan) – take a look:
Needless to say, I do recommend you leave your iPhone safely stowed away, but I can’t stress enough how fast and simple it is to dispose of this stuff properly. Also, it’s completely FREE.
A complete list of items accepted at these locations can be found and downloaded here.
Instead of throwing out those old cleaning products, paints, batteries, fertilizer, pesticides, or e-waste, place them in a box in your garage, and make a quick trip once or twice a year to your local hazardous waste disposal facility.
Each location in Orange County is open from 9:00am to 3:00pm Tuesday through Saturday – swing by on your lunch break, or when you are out running errands on Saturday. It only takes a minute to make a difference.