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  1. 1/13/2012 SUSTAINABILITY STARTS AT YOUR SINK: POLLUTION PREVENTION STARTS WITH YOU
  2. Did you know the average household contains between three and ten gallons of materials that are hazardous to human health or to the natural environment? There are obvious things, such as paint thinner, car batteries and cleaners; but beyond clearly hazardous materials, substances such as polishes, greases and even prescription medicines and personal care products can affect the environment if disposed of improperly. Every time someone dumps a can of paint thinner down the sink, flushes medicine down the toilet or throws an old car battery out with the trash, they can impact our water quality – and it doesn’t have to happen. You can prevent pollution before it starts through proper disposal, educated product choices, and the desire to contribute to sustainability or the continued environmental health of our planet.
     
    That’s why it’s so important to think about how you dispose of household waste. When it comes to cleaner water and a healthier environment, sustainability really does start at your sink. You can do your part for a sustainable planet and manage household waste by following these simple steps to manage your household waste:
     
    First, reduce the amount. You can reduce the amount of wastes from your home if you don’t buy more than you need or by simply reducing the amount you need.  
    ·       Before you buy a product, read the label and make sure that it will do what you want. Once you buy something, you are responsible for disposing of it properly.
    ·       Read and follow directions on how to use a product and how to dispose of the container.
    ·       Use safer or environmentally friendlier substitutes when available.
     
    Second, take care of the wastes. Even if you reduce your wastes, there is still the question of what to do with what is left over. Recycling is an excellent way of handling some hazardous wastes. Used motor oil, paint thinners, and some other solvents can be refined and reused just as aluminum cans are.
     
    Specific Items that should not go down the drain or be flushed include:
     
    Fats, oils or grease from cars or lawnmowers
    Coffee grinds
    Egg shells
    Produce stickers
    Chunks of garbage
    Feminine hygiene products
    Paper towels
    Flushable cat litter
    Rags
    Condoms
    Motor oil, transmission fluids, anti-freeze or other toxic chemicals
    Solvents, paints, turpentine, nail polish, polish remover
    Flammable or explosive substances
    Corrosive substances that are either acidic or caustic
    Prescription and over-the-counter medications
     
     
    The above Household Waste Chart from the Water Environment Federation will show you effective ways to dispose of household waste and contribute to a sustainable clean environment.
     
    All of the above referenced substances should be disposed of properly. If you have additional questions or need guidance on how to properly dispose of a household wastes in a safe manner, District customers may call the Tri County Health Department at 303-761-1340, the Environmental Health Division.