Every household has hazardous waste. Things like paint, pesticides, cleaning chemicals, nail polish, medicines, fire extinguishers, batteries, and spray aeresols are all items that can be detrimental to our planet if disposed of improperly. Thankfully, many of these items will be labeled with directions on what you should do with them when they are empty. For others, see some suggestions below.
Motor Oil: If you are changing oil on your vehicles, remember that you can't put used oil in the trash, or pour it down the drain. Most auto parts stores will accept used motor oil for recycling free of charge. Just take it to them in a clean, sealed container and they will handle proper disposal from there.
Check with your favorite auto parts store for more information. Some will also recycle automotive batteries, transmission fluid, gear oil, and oil filters.
Latex Paint: Latex paint is considered hazardous when it is still wet. So if you just have a little bit of paint left in the can, taking the lid off and letting it dry before tossing it in with your trash is the best option. If you have a significant amount of paint left, you have some options.
The best would be to donate it to someone who can use it. Think about Habitat for Humanity Restore, Scouts groups, and school groups that might have projects that need some paint.
Next would be to drop off the unused paint at a hazardous waste collection event. Depending on how the event works, it will either be disposed of properly, or it may be reused. For example, some cities use donated paint to help cover graffiti in the community.
The last option is to dry out the rest of the paint before disposing of it. You could pour it into a cardboard box and let it dry, or try mixing in some cat litter. Once its dry, the can and lid can be tossed (In San Angelo, paint cans CANNOT be added to your curbside recycling bins).
Oil based paints and stains: These should NEVER be thrown away in your trash as they are hazardous to our environment. In San Angelo, please contact Republic Services to find out when the next hazardous waste collection event will be held and drop it off then.
Pesticides: These should NEVER be thrown away in your trash as they are hazardous to our environment. In San Angelo, please contact Republic Services to find out when the next hazardous waste collection event will be held and drop it off then.
Batteries: These have heavy metals that can leach into our soil and waterways when disposed of improperly, ie thrown away in your trash. Instead, recycle them! Rechargeable batteries can be recycled at several local retailers, including Lowe's and Home Depot. Other types batteries may be recyclable at Batteries+Bulbs, though there may be a fee. Batteries are also typically included in Hazardous Waste Collection events in your community.
Prescription Drugs: Tossing these in the trash, or flushing them down the toilet, may seem like easy ways to dispose of unneeded old prescription drugs, but they are also bad for the environment. Some studies have shown the presence of anti-depressants in fish, as the chemicals can leach into our waterways. However, there are Prescription Drug Take Back days sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Agency. Click here to find out about upcoming events. Additionally, the Walgreens at 12 N. Abe Street in San Angelo has a Medication Disposal Kiosk, where unused prescriptions and OTC drugs can be dropped off. Click here for more information.