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Spring cleaning tips: How to dispose of hazardous waste in your home

Make Your Own Household Cleaning Products With A Few Common Ingredients
Posted at 1:41 PM, Mar 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-20 14:41:53-04

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — With spring cleaning season fast approaching, local agencies want you to know about the proper disposal of common household hazardous materials during National Poison Prevention Week, March 21-27.

According to a press release from the Brown County Port & Resource Recovery Department, each year over two million potential poisonings are reported nationwide, with nearly 90% of these occurring inside the home.

“People don’t tend to think of things in their homes as poisonous or being a hazardous waste,” said Chris Blan, Resource Recovery Technician. “But most homes have a lot of items that are, in fact, poisonous. Things such as bleach, paints, antifreeze, lawn and garden pesticides, and prescription drugs. That’s why a national week like this is a good opportunity to call attention to the proper storage as well as disposal of these items.”

Here are a few of the areas to think about when you’re doing your spring cleaning.

Household Chemicals:

Common household cleaners can pose a serious risk for children and pets.

“Most people don’t understand how dangerous cleaning products can be,” explains Brown County Resource Recovery Business Development Manager, Mark Walter. “They should be stored out of the reach of children and pets and they should be disposed of properly. Improper disposal, such as simply tossing them in the trash, can pose a serious threat to your health and the environment.”

Brown County Resource Recovery has a Hazardous Material Recovery (HMR) facility that accepts all cleaning products, paint, gasoline, pesticides and other potentially dangerous materials for a small fee.

“Hazardous waste should never be poured down the drain, flushed down the toilet, or poured into storm drains on the street. Doing so can threaten public health, and the environment,” explains Tom Sigmund, Executive Director of NEW Water, the brand of the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District.

NEW Water urges residents to “Love Your Pipes” by bringing hazardous chemicals to the Resource Recovery HMR facility. “We’re fortunate in Brown County to have such a convenient way to properly dispose of household hazardous waste,” Sigmund said.

Medications and Sharps:

Prescription and over-the-counter drugs as well as needles and other sharps should not be thrown away or flushed. The proper disposal of outdated medications that are stored in household medicine cabinets reduces the chance of prescription drug abuse and the accidental poisoning of children and pets.

While the Brown County HMR facility cannot accept these items, there are several drop off locations throughout the county. Visit the Brown County Public Health website to find a sharps disposal and drug take-back facility near you.

For more information about where to take potentially hazardous items, please visit the following websites:

  • Brown County Hazardous Material Recovery Facility collection hours:

https://www.browncountyrecycling.org/hmr-hours-location

  • Prescription drop-off locations:

https://doseofrealitywi.gov/drug-takeback/find-a-take-back-location/

  • Sharps drop-off locations:

https://www.browncountywi.gov/departments/public-health/general-information/