Thousands of common household products contain toxic ingredients... drain cleaners, oven cleaners, motor oil, anti-freeze, ammonia, bleach, paints, paint removers, solvents, and pesticides. Improperly used or disposed of, these chemicals reach streams, lakes, Puget Sound and even underground aquifers that provide our drinking water. It's up to us to stem the flow of these toxics into our waters and landfill sites.

Toxics poured down the drain go either into a septic tank or a public sewer system. In the septic tank, toxics can destroy organisms which break down wastes and some can pass unchanged into surrounding soil and water. In the sewer system, toxics can damage treatment plants or flow directly into Puget Sound. If dumped into storm drains, toxics often flow directly into streams, lakes, and Puget Sound.

Once these products enter our homes, it's our responsibility to handle, use and dispose of their hazardous wastes in an environmentally safe manner.

To aid householders in disposing of their hazardous wastes, special collection days have been organized in many communities. Some counties have year-round collection sites.

For information about collection days or permanent collection sites near you, call 1-800-RECYCLE. In King County, call the HAZARDS LINE at 296-4692. If you're unsure how to dispose of any material found around your dwelling, phone the Hazardous Substance Information Hotline at 1-800-633-7585 or your county health department.

Ahead you'll find some different categories of products commonly used at home, the appropriate disposal methods for each, and alternatives which pose a reduced threat to the environment.

Household Cleaners