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Household Hazardous Waste

Many, many household products can pose a risk to our communities and our environment – particularly when it comes time to dispose of them.

Products are considered hazardous if they are…

  • corrosive - they break down or damage other material or tissue
  • flammable - they ignite easily
  • reactive - they can cause an explosion or produce deadly vapours
  • toxic - they are poisonous to humans and animals

The Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council (SWRC) has some guidelines for buying and using hazardous household products, as well as suggestions for greener alternatives for some hazardous household products.

Typical household hazardous wastes include automotive products (such as motor oil and anti-freeze), home improvement products (such as paints and stains), pesticides (such as weed killer and mouse poison) and household cleaners (such as drain cleaner and toilet bowl cleaner). Once released into the environment, these substances can pose a serious threat to living organisms - even small quantities can accumulate over time and contaminate the air, water and soil.

There are a number of steps individuals can take to minimize the impact that household hazardous waste has on the environment and human health. Consumers can look for non-toxic alternatives. When that’s not possible they can try not to buy more product than they need for the job at hand. If they have leftover product they can try to find someone else who can use it.

You can also watch for special household hazardous waste days in communities across the province where residents can drop off many hazardous materials in one convenient place.

Federal, provincial and municipals laws are in place to regulate the storage, transportation and disposal of hazardous goods. When individuals do end up with hazardous waste it’s important to properly dispose of it. The SWRC maintains a database of locations throughout the province that accept household hazardous waste.

Many businesses also accept their products back for safe disposal and/or recycling. For example many electronic businesses accept computers, cell phones and such, while many pharmacies accept outdated or unused medications.

SARCAN also accepts old electronics such as computers, printers and televisions, in addition to collecting deposit beverage containers. They also now accept leftover paint and even put the better quality returns on the shelf for people to take free-of-charge.

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