So, you're on board with detoxing your home and doing some green cleaning in your home; that's great! You're using baking soda for almost everything and have assembled a green cleaning kit to tackle all the dirt, dust, grime and goop in your home. But what do you do with all the old leftover toxic cleaners and chemicals?
1. Read the label: The Center for Disease Control recommends checking with the manufacturers' instructions for disposal, which can sometimes be found on the label; if not, check with their website for more info.
2. Don't use 'em up: Household cleaners and chemicals that contain things like ammonia and bleach are dangerous, detrimental to your indoor air quality and bad for anyone who comes in contact with them. So, in this case, it's best to replace them, straight up, with healthier, safer options right away.3. Don't pour 'em down the drain: Different locales have different rules on this-some places let you dispose of a small amount flushed with lots and lots of water-but, generally, it's best not to head for the drain or toilet (especially if you're on a septic tank system). No matter what, though, you should avoid the sewer, drainage ditches and anywhere else outdoors at all costs.
4. Let your fingers do some walking: To learn what the rules are in your neck of the woods, do a little searching with Earth911.org. Many states and cities have regular collection days or local collection sites that can take the toxics off your hands and dispose of them safely. For example, in the Los Angeles area, check out the S.A.F.E Permanent Collection Centers (that's Solvents/Automotive/Flammables/Electronics); San Franciscans can check in with the San Francisco Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Facility. If you're in Chicago, use the City of Chicago Permanent Household Chemicals and Computer Recycling Facility, and residents of New York should head to Special Self-Help Special Waste Drop-Off Sites. Thanks to Apartment Therapy for finding these!
There are many more state-level and regional resources (too many to list here) from Washington state to Washington, DC, so use the power of the internet for use and find one near you.
5. Toss 'em, with care: As a very last resort, if the above options fail, some hazardous waste is accepted at landfills, after getting some special treatment. And, again, please check with your local municipality and ensure you follow their rules for disposal; the nasty stuff you're getting rid of isn't good for anyone or anything, and it'll be in the landfill for a long time.
Of course, once you've fully made the switch to non-toxic alternatives-and that goes for cleaners, but for other home-related products like paint, which you can even make yourself-you won't have to worry about any of this anymore. Until then, please take proper care to see that the chemicals safely end up where they belong. Get more info from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Difficulty level: Easy