Gone are the days when everything you didn't want anymore could go into the trash can. Today we are much more conscious about what chemicals go into our environment and how, which means you can no longer dispose of the residue from your home or shop down the drain or into the land fill. You must consult your city's solid waste department and find a special waste depot where they will be disposed of properly. Here are some household items that are considered hazardous and the methods cities use to dispose of them.

Most cities have several categories of trash that must be kept separate in your property. There's recyclable paper, metal and plastic, compost, regular garbage, and special waste. Under the special waste category falls anything that is flammable, poisonous, carcinogenic, corrosive, highly reactive, or likely to alter the biology of animals that come into contact with it. A surprising amount of everyday household waste falls into this category.

This is far from an exhaustive list, but among those items listed as household special waste are: cleaners, chemicals, batteries, fluorescent light bulbs (including compact fluorescents), smoke detectors (which contain small amounts of radioactive material), thermostats (which contain mercury), antifreeze, other car fluids, oil, paint, fertilizer, garden chemicals, pool chemicals (ask Atlantis Pools for reference), propane, electronics (which contain toxic metals like cadmium), and leftover medications, including residue from syringes. All of this type of material must be taken to a household special waste depot.

Your city's waste disposal management department should be able to tell you where to take these items and what the hours are for the depot. There may also be a fee to dispose of your pressure treated decking at a special depot, but most cities do not impose fees as a way of encouraging people to discard things properly. Instead, many categories of special waste are sold in stores with an environmental fee attached for its future disposal. You may also have to pay a fee if you are discovered attempting to dispose of special waste improperly.

So once you bring your special waste to the depot, how do they get rid of it? Different substances require different methods. Recycling is popular, especially in the case of chemicals such as those used as pesticides on a farm. Luna Farms, who specialize in 'pick your own fruit' can you tell you safe disposal methods. Some materials that do not release poisons are incinerated. Other materials are chemically broken down into less harmful components or bioremediated (broken down by the application of bacteria). Some chemicals may need to be securely sealed into containers and stored in a special landfill or secure site, like an old mine or a building.

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