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Help Keep Iowa Water Quality from Going Down the Drain

Because they pose risks for health and the environment, items like cleaning products, batteries, lawn fertilizer and oil should never be tossed in the garbage or poured down the drain. Credit: U.S. Army Environmental Command/Flickr.
Because they pose risks for health and the environment, items like cleaning products, batteries, lawn fertilizer and oil should never be tossed in the garbage or poured down the drain. Credit: U.S. Army Environmental Command/Flickr.
July 10, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa - Hazardous household chemicals can build up around the home and garage quickly, but they can't be tossed with the regular garbage, so Iowans are being reminded to dispose of them properly.

It's estimated the average home has accumulated around 100 pounds of cleaning products, oils, paints, and lawn and weed chemicals. Trish Radke, program coordinator with Metro Waste Authority, says people need to realize that these are all considered hazardous waste and can't be tossed in the garbage or poured down the drain.

"It's any material that the label reads flammable, corrosive, explosive, toxic or even keep out of reach of children," says Radke. "All of those products have hazardous material in them, so instead of putting them in your regular trash if you have used them up and need to get rid of them, then you need to look to a Regional Collection Center."

In addition to the Regional Collection Centers, many communities across the state also offer drop-off events with details available by contacting your local landfill.

Radke says the improper disposal of these items can have a negative impact on the environment, especially the water supply. There is also the direct threat to human health.

"They can also harm sanitation workers or even your family, if you were to dispose of them in the regular trash and they would leak out onto the street," she says. "So because of the chemical make-up, they need to be disposed of in a different way than going to the landfill."

Radke also suggests to start the process of reducing household hazardous waste when shopping, by choosing those brands with natural ingredients or purchasing smaller containers to eliminate leftover, unused product.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - IA