Green Your Home and Use Products Safely
Always read the label first! This is an easy way to understand what products you are handling and the safety guidelines. A wide range of products that we use in our homes and everyday lives contain chemicals that fit the definition of hazardous or toxic. Hazardous products line our kitchen, bath, utility and garage shelves. Proper management of household hazardous waste is important for protecting our land, air and water, as well as our personal health. Household products that contain hazardous components require special awareness, handling, and disposal. Hazardous waste is waste that is dangerous or potentially harmful to our health or the environment. Hazardous wastes can be liquids, solids, or gases.
What qualifies as household hazardous waste?
Minimize your exposure to hazardous chemicals by proper handling and storage. Check to make sure containers are properly sealed and labeled. Do not mix different chemicals together and use the safety equipment recommended on the label, such as plastic gloves. Store materials in a secure place out of the reach of children and buy only what is absolutely necessary. Look for alternatives to hazardous chemicals, such as vinegar, which works well for many cleaning tasks. Always select the least hazardous product for your task. There are four different words that should appear on the label of products. These words describe the danger level of the chemical. Caution is the lowest warning while Warning is higher on the scale. Danger indicates that the highest precautions should be taken. Poison will be on highly toxic chemicals that are extremely dangerous to people.
There are many new green products that have lower adverse effects on human health and the environment. Vinegar can be used as a simple, safe, non-toxic cleaner for windows, floors, and furniture. Green Purchasing or Environmentally Preferable Purchasing ﴾EPP﴿ is the buying of goods and services that have a reduced negative impact on human health and the environment as compared to other goods and services serving the same purpose. Green purchasing is smart purchasing. There are a wide variety of new products that offer performance and cost comparable to non-green (more toxic) products.
Proper disposal of hazardous household waste is important so that we are not exposed to harmful chemicals and they are not introduced into the environment. Check out the easy ways to dispose of your hazardous household waste through Pinellas County Utilities.
Pinellas County Utilities operates the Household Electronics and Chemical Collection Center (HEC3) as a permanent disposal location for hazardous household waste. Pinellas County residents are invited to bring their unwanted electronics and chemicals to the center (at no charge). View options for business hazardous waste.
UF/IFAS Living Green: http://livinggreen.ifas.ufl.edu/waste/household_hazardous_waste.html
Pinellas County Utilities Household Electronics and Chemical Collections Center: http://www.pinellascounty.org/utilities/swapshop.htm
Pinellas County Utilities Hazardous Electronics and Chemicals: http://www.pinellascounty.org/utilities/hazardous.htm