What You Need to Know About Waste Disposal for Your Home
Follow the Proper Guidelines
One of the first things a new homeowner seeks to discover is the day and time of garbage pickup. Nobody wants their trash hanging around longer than necessary. In recent years, though, garbage disposal has become a major issue, so you'll need to know far more than just when the garbage truck goes by. Many municipalities limit the number of trash cans or garbage bags a household can put out each week, and certain items require special disposal protocol and facilities.
Solid Waste Disposal
Most household waste is solid waste of some sort. This includes biodegradable waste such as foodstuffs, recyclable waste such as cans and papers, and hazardous waste such as light bulbs and medications. In an effort to save landfill space and conserve resources, many municipalities now encourage homeowners to compost biodegradable waste and separate recyclables from garbage. Recycling is generally collected by the municipality in much the same way as waste, but collection may take place separately.
Some municipalities also make provisions for hazardous waste materials, but disposal may be the responsibility of the homeowner. The same holds for larger items such as furniture and toys. If you have such items to dispose of, call your municipality first to see what the guidelines and provisions are. If they won't handle waste, they can usually at least refer you to a company that will. If they can't, check the Internet or Yellow Pages for waste disposal services.
Don't forget that furniture and toys may be donated to a number of charitable organizations, many of which will pick the items up from you. Of course, the items have to be in fairly good condition, but in many cases, the adage holds true: "one person's trash is another's treasure."
Hazardous Waste Disposal
Most people think that hazardous waste refers only to chemicals or industrial byproducts, but the truth is, many household waste items can be considered hazardous. Batteries, medications, paints, electronics, light bulbs and spray cans are just a few of the hazardous items commonly included in household waste.
Generally speaking, any waste that is poisonous, corrosive, flammable or explosive needs to be disposed of using special means. Many automotive products, pest control chemicals, batteries, paints, solvents, mercury-containing compounds, empty propane tanks, chemical containers and even common household products like oven cleaners and rust removers need special attention.
Check with your municipality for the guidelines regarding hazardous waste disposal. Often, communities host a "hazardous waste day" on a semi-regular basis, during which homeowners can put out their hazardous waste for collection. Many electronics and department stores also provide battery disposal receptacles and may even collect other electronic waste.
If your municipality doesn't have provisions for hazardous household materials, contact one of the many hazardous waste disposal companies found in most areas. It may be tempting to sneak hazardous waste in with your regular garbage, but this can be incredibly detrimental to the environment and may result in hefty fines if you're caught.
Yard Waste Disposal
Most types of yard waste, including tree waste, plant waste and upturned soil, are safe for deposit into your local landfill. However, there may be curbside pickup restrictions, as some municipal garbage trucks aren’t equipped to deal with large volumes of yard waste. In this case, you’ll have to remove the yard waste on your own.
The first step is to check with your local waste management or landfill authorities to see what requirements need to be met in order to bring the waste to the city dump. For example, you may have to break down larger pieces of tree waste into manageable pieces, or pay fees based on weight or volume. If you’d rather not go to the trouble, you can also hire a local waste removal company to come pick up your waste and take it to landfill for you.