What happens to all the chemicals and cleaners you have around the house when you get rid of them? Well, it all depends on how you dispose of them.
Your best option for legal and responsible disposal of these products is at WLSSD’s Household Hazardous Waste facility where residents can drop off old or unused household products for free! When you bring your household products to us, they’re recycled or incinerated safely.
Common household products contain some chemicals that wastewater treatment isn’t designed to treat. Heavy metals are in products like light bulbs, thermometers, and small button batteries. Certain cleaning chemicals contain things that are toxic to fish. And some hygiene products contain endocrine disruptors which may cause hormone imbalances in wildlife and people.
If you throw household hazardous waste in the garbage, it will go to the landfill. Landfills are sealed to protect groundwater, but any rain that falls on the garbage runs off into collection ponds and may contain some of the pollutants from chemicals thrown in the trash. The water from those collection ponds is treated at a wastewater treatment plant. While the treatment process does a great job of cleaning water, wastewater treatment isn’t designed to clean out some chemicals that shouldn’t be in the water in the first place.
If you pour your hazardous waste down the drain, you are sending even more concentrated chemicals directly to WLSSD. Not only is it possible for some of these chemicals to pass through the wastewater treatment process into Lake Superior, they may not even make it to WLSSD. That is because some chemicals may be so corrosive they eat through your pipes before they get to the sewer.
Disposing of your waste illegally and irresponsibly can cause serious environmental and human health problems. Thankfully, WLSSD’s Household Hazardous Waste facility accepts unwanted products from your home for free! What’s more, when folks have still useable products, WLSSD staff separate them and put them in the Re-Use center where customers can take these products for free.
Do your part by using WLSSD, your local waste disposal resource, in order to protect Lake Superior, our most precious natural resource.