Wanna get painted?, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from ma.co.’s photostream

Take a look under your kitchen or bathroom sink. What do you see? How about in your basement or garage — what’s there? If you’re like most people, you may find some ammonia or oven cleaner, perhaps some old cans of paint or paint thinners, maybe some antifreeze or motor oil, or weed killer or mothballs. All of these items are classified as “household hazardous waste” (HHW). These are common household chemical products that, if we think about it, we know we shouldn’t be tossing into a trash bag because it would be bad for the environment. So, in many homes, they sit and collect dust. In fact, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an average home can easily accumulate 100 pounds of these common chemicals.

There is a safe way to dispose of HHWs. The Pennsylvania Resources Council has announced the 2011 Schedule of Household Chemical Collections. There are several of these taking place in our area this year. Individuals can drop off waste materials at these events. There is a $2 per gallon fee which must be paid in cash (no checks or credit cards will be accepted). The events are are being held in conjunction with PRC’s Zero Waste Pittsburgh project in partnership with Allegheny County Health Department, UPMC, NewsRadio 1020 KDKA, the HHW Task Force and other private and public sector partners.

The first event this year is for residents of Allegheny County:

Allegheny County Household Chemical Collection Event
Saturday, May 7, 2011
9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
North Park
Swimming Pool Parking Lot

You can view a flyer for the event here and all event dates here. The flyer also includes what items are and aren’t accepted. And, be sure to visit the Zero Waste Pittsburgh website to learn how to reduce waste and to see more about Household Chemical Collections in particular here.