Part of keeping the planet healthy and keep your home healthy is minimizing the hazardous materials you use in the first place. Keeping Poisons Out of the Landfill is the best place to start.
This is the sixth article in the Sustainable Life Series, where we will explore the many ways you can live a sustainable life on a budget, no matter where you currently live. This mindset has many applications for the Prepared-Homesteading-Survivalist as we find ways to live life to the fullest on our homesteads, conserve resources every day, and how we prepare for emergencies.
Keeping Toxins Out
Some items require special consideration when it comes to keeping the planet safe. While we can’t totally end our dependence on these things, we can make sure that they’re disposed of properly.
Items that fall into this do not dispose of category include:
• Used batteries
• Motor oil
These items should not be thrown away in the trash or flushed down drains. Their effects can be dangerous to the environment and people. Most cities have places where you can take hazardous wastes to be disposed of properly.
Recycling centers usually take items such as paint and solvents as well as batteries. When it comes to waste from working on vehicles, auto parts stores often provide services for recycling fluids and you can take used motor oil to these stores.
If you don’t have a local center for disposal, look for one in your county or the nearest city or town. Many smaller towns have arrangements to share these facilities. Some larger cities will accept hazardous materials from other towns for a small fee.
A quick online search can help you find the closest, most convenient place to dispose of hazardous materials. While it may not be easy to dispose of this waste, it’s worth the effort to keep the planet healthy.
Another threat to landfills as well as waterways is the disposal of medications. Medications are frequently flushed down the toilet when they’re no longer needed. However, this is bad for the water supply.
If you have a supply of medications that you no longer need, you should talk to your local pharmacist about proper disposal. Some pharmacies will allow you to drop off unused medications and they will handle disposal.
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) also sets up programs around the country in the United States for the proper disposal of prescription medications. Not only will this keep the environment safer, it could keep your family safer.
Particularly for families of teens, it’s not a good idea to keep a supply of leftover medications in the home. Drugs such as muscle relaxers and narcotics should not be easily accessible to children who may not understand the consequences of using them.
Making It Easy on Yourself
Many sustainable living practices are a matter of making new habits and making things convenient. Dealing with hazardous materials can be easier if you have a system in place in your home for dealing with them.
For example, choose a safe place in your home where hazardous materials can be stored until you’re able to dispose of them. Keep like items together. Have a container for storing batteries, and a place for storing paints, etc.
Choose a regular time to take hazardous materials to the proper disposal center and set up a schedule to take paints and batteries to the recycling center two or three times a year. You can also make sure to check your medicine cabinet twice yearly for excess and expired medications.
Part of keeping the planet healthy and keep your home healthy is minimizing the hazardous materials you use in the first place. By making as many choices as you can of non-toxic materials, you can limit the number of hazardous materials of which you need to dispose of.
Other articles in the Sustainable Life Series:
Making a Sustainable Life Plan
Why Choose a Sustainable Lifestyle
Sustainable living 101: What to Expect from Sustainability
Sustainable living tips: Small Choices that Make a Big Impact
Making Sustainable Living Fun
Getting Rid of Toxic Waste: Keeping Poisons out of the Landfill
Recycle: Sustaining the Earth by Managing Waste
Donate: Sustaining the Earth by Managing Waste
Reuse: Sustaining the Earth by Managing Waste
Reduce: Sustaining the Earth by Managing Waste
Reducing Dependence on Energy in your Home
Waste Not, Want Not Producing and Conserving Energy in your Home
Reduce Transportation Energy