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How to Dispose of Hazardous Waste Before Moving

While movers are happy to transport most of your belongings, there are certain items they won’t accept. Every household tends to accumulate at least a small amount of potentially hazardous substances over time: propane, bleach, paint thinner, etc. Though safe for home use, they create an unacceptable risk when transported over long distances inside a moving van. Since they cannot be included in a move, homeowners have to get rid of them on their own, which can be a challenge. Because they might contaminate the soil or groundwater, the majority of them can’t simply be tossed in the dumpster. To avoid harming the environment and endangering public health, every homeowner should know how to dispose of hazardous waste before their move.


How to Identify Hazardous Waste

Most homeowners have more hazardous substances lying around their house than they realize. According to the EPA, a hazardous substance is anything with at least one of the following characteristics:

  • Flammable. Catches fire when exposed to heat or open flame.
  • Corrosive. Burns and destroys living tissue upon contact.
  • Explosive. Combusts in reaction to heat, pressure, or sudden shock.
  • Toxic and Poisonous. Causes injury or death when inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin.

If you’re uncertain whether an item meets this definition, check the label. All hazardous substances have warning labels letting you know how unsafe they are. “Caution” means least toxic. “Warning” means moderately toxic, and “Dangerous” means most toxic. The label will also provide instructions for safe handling and storage, and perhaps safe disposal as well. Common hazardous household substances include:

  • Motor Oil
  • Oil Filters
  • Gasoline
  • Brake Fluid
  • Antifreeze
  • Kerosene
  • Home Heating Oil
  • Propane
  • Pesticides
  • Herbicides
  • Insecticides
  • Fungicides
  • Weed Killer
  • Paint
  • Paint Thinner
  • Turpentine
  • Nail Polish
  • Nail Polish Remover
  • Bleach
  • Ammonia
  • Fireworks
  • Lighter Fluid
  • Ammunition
  • Chlorine
  • Muriatic Acid
  • Batteries

How to Dispose of Hazardous Waste

It’s recommended that you go through your house and inventory your hazardous materials before your move. Once you know what you’re dealing with, you can decide how to safely dispose of them. You can:

  • Donate Them. Ask a friend or family member if they’ll take the materials off your hands.
  • Take Them to a Waste Collection Site. Most cities have sites that accept hazardous waste free of charge. Make sure to call ahead or check online before you go, as the majority of sites are only open a few days a month.
  • Take Them to a Landfill. Some solid waste can be taken to your local landfill. Check what types of waste they accept and whether they have special drop-off points for the items you’re disposing of.
  • Take Them to a Garage. Car shops often recycle motor oil and transmission fluids. Contact the mechanics in your area and ask whether they process waste products.
  • Schedule a Pickup. For a small fee, waste management companies will send a truck to pick up hazardous substances from your home. Check to see what type of materials they handle, so you don’t leave out something they won’t accept.
  • Request a Recycling Kit. Some waste management companies send recycling kits to homeowners through the mail. Once the box arrives, simply pack your waste in the box and mail it back. Not all hazardous waste can be safely transported by mail, so double check with the company to avoid shipping something you might be held liable for.
  • Dilute and Flush. Surprisingly, homeowners can dispose of some hazardous substances on their own by neutralizing them with water and flushing them down their drain. Contact your local wastewater treatment company to learn which items can be disposed of in this manner.

Household Moving

northAmerican is a full service moving company. Besides transportation, we also help customers pack, store, and assemble their belongings. We put the power into your hands, letting you decide which services best fit your needs. All of our services come with predictable pricing, so you don’t need to worry about surprise fees at the end of your move. Get professional help you can count on. Contact us today for a free quote!