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Careful What You Throw Out While Doing the 'Spring Fling'

March 14, 2011

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Now that we've set our clocks forward and spring is to arrive in just a few days, many Pennsylvanians will tackle the annual ritual of spring cleaning. But not everything in your cabinets, garage and basement should end up in the garbage. That's especially true with the half-filled bottles of substances ranging from cleaners to paint that may be around your home.

Amy Hock, public relations specialist with Metro Waste Authority, suggests reading the labels and disposing of these items appropriately, which usually means taking them to a collection center or local collection event. She adds that when buying replacement items, look for non-toxic options, and think about quantity.

"When you're buying products, we encourage people to buy only what you'll need, and/or what you'll use in one year."

Hock says another way to cut down on the amount of potentially-hazardous items ending up in a landfill is to involve a neighbor.

"Instead of going and buying something for your project, check with your neighbor and see if they have something that you can use. It takes it off their hands so they don't have to dispose of it, and you're also not having to buy brand-new products."

Many Pennsylvania counties are in the process of setting up their first of several household hazardous waste collection events for the year. Check your county's website for more information. If you're not sure about how to properly dispose of an item or a chemical, you can find some guidance at the Pennsylvania Resources Council website,
www.zerowastepgh.org

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - PA