Extension Educator, Horticulture
Household hazardous waste. This goes beyond dirty diapers, the unknown green growth in the refrigerator or your spouse's 20-year-old sweat pants. We can easily purchase many products such as drain cleaners, oven cleaners, and pesticides that could potentially harm the environment, wildlife and us unless they are used and disposed of properly. Improper disposal can include pouring them down the drain, on the ground, into storm sewers, or in some cases putting them out with the trash. I've looked on the map and there is no place called "Away."
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a substance as hazardous if it is flammable, can react or explode when mixed with other substances, is corrosive, or is toxic. The US EPA estimates that the average household generates 20 pounds of household hazardous waste each year.
So now what do we do with all this stuff? We have a rare opportunity to properly dispose of household hazardous waste on Saturday, November 3 from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm at the City of Champaign Public Works Center at 702 Edgebrook Drive in Champaign (just east of K-mart).
Acceptable items for collection include oil based paints, paint thinners, pesticides, pool chemicals, cleaning products, mercury/thermostats, household batteries, used motor oil, drain cleaners, lawn chemicals, solvents, antifreeze, aerosol paints and pesticides, fluorescent lamp bulbs, 20 and 30 pound propane tanks, fire extinguishers and automotive batteries.
Unacceptable items are agricultural wastes, business/commercial wastes, explosives, fireworks, medical wastes, smoke detectors, farm machinery oil, electronic waste (computers, TVs, or appliances), and latex paint. You will be asked to remain in your vehicle and anticipate a waiting period. Staff will remove the material from your vehicle at the appropriate time.
Be sure to transport the products safely to the collection site such as in a plastic bucket with a lid. There is no direct cost to you on collection day. The collection is funded through Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, City of Champaign, Champaign County and City of Urbana. Any questions contact City of Urbana 384-2381, City of Champaign 351-4443 or Illinois EPA 782-9284.
Proper disposal is important, but ultimately we should all try to reduce the amount of hazardous waste around our homes. Here are a few tips: