Household Pollutants

You may not realize it, but your home is likely filled with all sorts of possible pollutants.  Many everyday products such as paint and lawn chemicals can be dangerous if used or stored improperly, and cause serious environmental damage if tossed in the trash, poured down the sink or washed into the storm drains.  The improper disposal of household wastes can cause problems for the entire community.  Wastes can be explosive or highly flammable.  Sewers and storm drainage lines have exploded and garbage trucks have burned because people have carelessly discarded flammable or reactive wastes.  Some wastes are poisonous to people or wildlife, while others may cause cancer, birth defects or other serious medical problems.

What can you do?
Read the information below to find out how you can reduce the amount of pollutants you generate make sure you are storing and transporting such products properly, and most importantly, dispose of your leftover pollutants properly at Household Collection locations or events.

Reducing Household Pollutants
  • Before you buy a product, read the label and make sure that it will do what you want.  Buy only what you need.
  • Read and follow directions on how to use a product and dispose of the container.
  • Use safer alternatives if they are available.  Here are some safer (and usually cheaper) alternatives for cleaning:
Wood polish:  Mixture of one teaspoon lemon oil to one pint vegetable or mineral oil.
No-wax floors:  Oil soap or soap and water.
Rug deodorizer:  Baking soda, or two parts cornmeal to one part Borax (let sit an hour before vacuuming).
Mothballs:  Substitute dried lavender or cedar shavings.
Metal Cleaners:  For aluminum, use lemon juice.  Rub and rinse, or soak overnight in vinegar and water; for stainless steel, use baking soda paste; for copper, use ketchup or lemon juice and salt; for gold, use warm soap and water mixture; for chrome, use vinegar; for brass, use salt, flour and vinegar mixture; for silver, mix 1.5 quarts of hot water, a half tablespoon of baking soda, a half tablespoon of salt, and soak in aluminum pan lined with aluminum foil, polish with cloth.
Sink, tub and tile:  Scour with baking soda or Borax.