Safe Handling and Disposal of Hazardous Household Materials

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Prince William, VA, September 10, 2014 – Many ubiquitous products used in your home, yard, and garage contain hazardous ingredients that if improperly disposed of could pose a harm to humans, animals, or the environment. The proper identification and safe handling of household hazardous waste for disposal is as important as the proper use of these products. So, Prince William County Landfill Superintendent Hafez Al-Haj urges citizens,   “Don’t get too comfortable, show respect for the potential harm these products can cause if not disposed of properly.” “Household chemicals when used, stored and then disposed of properly are harmless, it is when we don’t follow the guidelines on labels that they can become a problem, said Matt Adkins, Prince William County Hazardous Materials Coordinator, always use them as directed on the labels paying careful attention to signal words such as “danger” and “warning”.

Improper disposal of hazardous materials, such as throwing them away with your household trash, dumping them in storm drains or sewer or septic systems, is dangerous and can:

  • Injure garbage collectors and landfill workers by exploding aerosol cans, splashing chemicals, or poisonous fumes created by mixed chemicals
  • Cause fires and/or explosions from chemical reactions in garbage collection trucks
  • Pollute the ground and ground water from leachate leaks
  • Endanger your health, the health of others and the environment

Common household hazardous waste products include items such as automotive fluids, solvents, pool chemicals, fluorescent bulbs and tubes, home cleaning and maintenance products, unwanted fuel, paint, pest control products, and lawn and garden care products that need to be disposed of safely.

Identifying Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials have one or more of the following characteristics:ignitable, corrosive, reactive or toxic. These hazardous products may also be identified by warning words like poisonous, volatile, flammable, inflammable, combustible or explosive. When the time comes to discard these items they require special handling because of these characteristics and warnings.

Proper Disposal

Prince William County provides special locations at the Prince William County Landfill and Balls Ford Road Compost Facility where residents can bring unwanted hazardous products free of charge for safe and proper disposal or recycling. Dispose of Household Hazard Waste during scheduled collections:

  • Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Landfill
  • Second Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.at the Balls Ford Road Compost Facility

Transport Safety Tips

For safety, citizens should bring hazardous waste items in the original labeled container, sealed and packaged for transport to a Prince William County Hazardous Waste facility. Citizens should transport hazardous materials upright in boxes with lids placed on securely. Do not mix containers because lids can come off during transport causing chemicals to mix and possibly creating dangerous reactions. Containers that are leaking should be individually bagged, sealed and labeled.   If a product has been removed from its original container be sure it properly labeled.

 Hazardous Materials Accepted

The Household Hazardous Waste program at Prince William County facilities accepts a variety of products and comprehensive list can be found at www.pwcgov.org/trashandrecycling. In fact, many of the items because of their pervasiveness may seem benign, so residents may be surprised at some of the items on this list.

  • Aerosol cans
  • Antbait/traps
  • Automotivepaints
  • Batteryacid
  • Carbon dioxide detectors
  • Caulks/adhesives
  • Chemistrykits
  • Cleaningfluids/polishes
  • Draincleaners
  • Drivewaysealers
  • Fertilizers
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Flammableabrasives
  • Flammablewaxes
  • Fluorescentbulbs
  • Gasoline
  • Herbicides
  • Insecticides
  • Lacquers
  • Mercuryproducts
  • Mineralspirits
  • Ovencleaners
  • Paintthinners
  • Paints(latex&oil)
  • Pesticides
  • Petsupplies
  • Photographychemicals
  • Propanetanks(less than20 lbs)
  • Rodentcontrols
  • Silvercleaners
  • Spraypaintcans
  • Swimmingpoolchemicals
  • Varnishes
  • Yardcareproducts

The Electronics Recycling program is collocated with Household Hazard Waste and items such as televisions, computers, cell phones, and other electronics with a cord or circuited board are also accepted. A detailed list of accepted hazardous materials and electronic equipment can be found at www.pwcgov.org/trashandrecycling.

Hazardous Materials Not Accepted at Household Hazardous Waste Facility

Explosives, fireworks, ammunition,medical waste, biological waste, asbestos, radioactive waste, unknown substances and business waste.

Automotive Products and Batteries Require Special Disposal

Used motor oil, oil filters, antifreeze, auto batteries, and household batteries also require special treatment for proper disposal and recycling in Prince William County. However, residents may bring these items to the landfill or Balls Ford Road facility any day during regular business hours and placed in special containers located in the Citizens’ Convenience center area.

Medical Sharps Disposal

Medical sharps/needles that have been properly secured may also be disposed of at the Prince William Landfill during regular business hours. The check point attendant at the Citizens’ Convenience Area will provide directions to the designated container. These items are not accepted at the Balls Ford Facility.

The Solid Waste Division recommends residents become familiar with the list of hazardous waste items so that they can plan for safe handling and proper disposal or recycling. For more information on recycling or the proper disposal of hazardous materials visit www.pwcgov.org/trashandrecycling or call the Solid Waste Division at 703-792-4670.

The Prince William County Landfill and Balls Ford Road Yard Waste Compost Facility are operated by the Prince William County Solid Waste Division. In 2013, the Solid Waste Division earned the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Gold Medal Award for its Sustainability Program. The division is a part of the Prince William County Public Works Department, an accredited agency of the American Public Works Association. The Prince William County Landfill is the only active landfill with an Extraordinary Environmental Excellence (E4) rating in Virginia, the highest level of certification awarded by Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Environmental Excellence Program (VEEP).

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