Safe Ways to Handle Hazardous Household Products

What to Toss? What to Replace?What to Toss? What to Replace?It's tempting to toss old paint, leftover cleaners, or even a busted VCR into the regular trash. But throwing away hazardous household products (HHPs)- defined as those with components that are flammable, explosive, corrosive, or toxic-without proper safeguards endangers human health and pollutes our land, water, and air. In addition to items such as paints and solvents, HHPs also include everyday products like bleach, which is corrosive, and home electronics, many of which contain mercury or lead. Bob Broz, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri's College of Food Systems and Bioengineering, offers these tips for reducing your use of HHPs and getting rid of old ones. -Keith Pandolfi

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Give Away LeftoversGive Away LeftoversTIP: Give Away Leftovers
Your next-door neighbor or even a local nonprofit organization might need the half cans of paint and stain that might otherwise gather dust in your workshop. Community gardens will often accept extra and unopened fertilizers and pesticides, says Broz. Ask around or post an ad on Craigslist; chances are, you'll find a taker for your freebies.

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Gather Broken ElectronicsGather Broken ElectronicsTIP: Gather Broken Electronics for One Big Drop-Off

Don't kick these to the curb-your town may fine you for doing so. Big-box retailers Best Buy and Office Depot collect many types of products for recycling, and some towns offer drop-off programs.

MORE: Check Local Resources for Disposal Options

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