Category Archives: Hazardous Waste

Keep your family safer: get rid of unwanted hazardous products

 

You can’t watch children all the time.  So how can you keep them safer?ChildReachingCupboard

If you have unwanted hazardous products you could get them out of your home and away from curious hands.

How can you tell which products under the sink or in the closet are hazardous?

Look on the label.  If you see the words DANGER or POISON, that means the product is very harmful.

If you see the words CAUTION or WARNING, that means the products is somewhat harmful.

And if you don’t see CAUTION, WARNING, DANGER OR POISON on the product label, that means the product is safer to use.

So if you want to get rid of hazardous products you don’t want, what do you do?

Getting rid of hazardous products you no longer use can help keep you and your family safer.

Cleaning up in South Seattle

AutoRecy_SSeattle_Bef5_Mar2015

Before

AutoRecy_SSeattle_After1_Mar2015

After

What did it take to get this auto dismantling business to stop storing hundreds of gallons of hazardous wastes outside with no protection from the elements?

Stepping onto this site you wouldn’t know from the dark stains of automotive fluids on the property, the potential fire hazard of the 500 gallons of used oil that was stored near an electrical panel and the storm water that ran off the property onto neighboring sites, that nine different environmental and health agencies had separately visited this site to give technical, non-enforcement help.

Despite the best efforts of various agencies, the business owner continued to ignore their advice.

Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. The numerous agencies started coordinating with each other through the Interagency Compliance Team (ICT). ICT works with the various agencies to develop a strategy and then starts implementing interventions. In this case, the Seattle Fire Department, Seattle Public Utilities and OSHA issued citations; Public Health – Seattle & King County issued a Notice of Violation and Notice and Order to the property owner.

The result? Nine hundred gallons of hazardous waste were removed from the property.  The business owner stopped operating his business and cleaned up the property. Storm water pollution and environmental impacts to neighboring properties also stopped as did the continued chemical exposures to the community and the environment from the property.

Under the umbrella of ICT, representatives from nine agencies coordinated with the business and the property owner to get the site cleaned up: the Washington State Patrol, Seattle Fire, King County Storm Water, King County Industrial Waste, Department of Ecology, Public Health – Seattle & King County, Seattle Public Utilities, Department of Ecology, Division of Occupational Safety & Health (OSHA), and the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County.

Thanks to these agencies for working together to keep businesses on track so we can all breathe easier.

El Nino winters can bring floods – take steps to prepare your home and business

Woman in flooded busienss_pomeroyohiobusiness2005CroppedCan you imagine standing in your home or business and seeing even a few inches of water? Is there anything you could do ahead of time to make this scene a little less devastating?

You might want to try some of this advice that is useful for both homes and businesses.

Have you ever been in flood?  Had you tried to prepare?  Were any of your efforts useful?

Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County Releases 2014 Annual Report

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In 2014, the Program provided direct service to 90,000 people who visited our hazardous waste collection facilities, attended our trainings and had an Environmental Investigator visit their business.  It provided indirect service to over 200,000 people through our Website and Facebook page.  Read the full report.

The Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County is a multijurisdictional program whose mission is to reduce the threat posed by the production, use, storage and disposal of hazardous materials, thereby protecting public health and environmental quality. Program partners include the Seattle Public Utilities, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Public Health – Seattle & King County, and cities and tribes in King County.

 

Help Us Celebrate the Groundbreaking Work of Healthier Nail Salons

NailGardenLiz This weekend Seattle will celebrate the first certified Healthy Nail Salon – the Nail Garden in the Green Lake neighborhood, located at 7900 E. Greenlake Dr. N, #109, Seattle, WA 98103. The celebration starts at 11 am and goes until 2 pm. Be one of the first 30 visitors and receive a bottle of “3-free” polish (no toluene, formaldehyde or dibutyl phthalate) with this coupon. What’s special about Nail Garden that makes it a “certified” healthy nail salon? Those of us who have braved strong solvent odors for a manicure or pedicure will appreciate that this salon has a ventilation system that diverts the odors outside where they are quickly dissipated. This benefits not only the customers but the nail technicians who spend up to 8 to 10 hours a day breathing the vapors. It is not uncommon for nail technicians to experience dizziness, nausea and headaches. Long-term exposure can cause asthma, liver and kidney issues and memory problems. Most nail technicians are Vietnamese and have limited English proficiency. Like most of us, many are not aware of the problems exposure to these chemicals may cause. The Healthy Nail Salon project in King County partnered with salons to help them improve their ventilation systems, find safer chemicals and personal protective equipment. It also created a recognition program for those salons that safely handle, store and dispose of their chemicals. Come celebrate with Nail Garden this Saturday from 11 am to 2:00 pm. The celebration is more than just this nail salon’s commitment to protecting the health of their employees. It’s also a celebration of the groundbreaking work the Healthy Nail Salon project is doing in King County. The Healthy Nail Salon project is a part of the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County.

Celebrate Earth Day and make that trip

It may not seem that the simple act of gathering your unwanted household hazardous waste and making a trip to the disposal facility will “save the Earth”, but many small, individual actions add up to big results.

Thirty-two million pounds – that’s the amount of household hazardous waste people brought to the Wastemobile in 25 years. This came from individuals gathering waste from under their sink or off the shelf in their garage and making a trip to a disposal site.

Hazardous waste includes many things most of us wouldn’t consider hazardous:

  • fluorescent light bulbs and tubes (they contain toxic mercury)
  • any household cleaner with the words CAUTION, WARNING, DANGER or POISON on the label (that’s most of them);
  • the can of oil-based paint you didn’t use up completely;
  • household batteries (they contain lead) – yes, even the ones from your remote control units.

Will you join us and make that trip this spring?  Locations. List of what you can bring.

WM Contest winner 2_2014

The Wastemobile is back!

Wastemobile 8

Early signs of Spring include crocuses, magnolia blossoms, early-blooming rhodies and …. the Wastemobile!

Bring the hazardous waste that you’ve accumulated over the long winter to the first Wastemobile of 2015 in Bothell, WA.

Find it in the Seattle Times parking lot at 19200 120th Ave NE between 10 to 5 from February 27th through March 1.

Think you don’t have hazardous waste in your house, garage or shed? Chances are you do. Hazardous waste includes burnt out fluorescent bulbs, CFL bulbs (twirly bulbs), most unwanted household cleaners, batteries, and much more. Find a complete list here.

This great service is free because it’s already been paid for in your utility bill.

Seven simple steps to prevent children’s poisonings

It’s hard to keep an eye on small children all the time, and young children put everything in their mouth. Follow these simple steps to reduce the chance of a poisoning in your home.

Step 1. Make green cleaners – Household cleaners are the third most common reason for accidental poisoning of children. Reduce your child’s exposure to toxins and make your own green cleaners (PDF).

Green clean kit

Build your own green cleaning kit

Step 2. Buy safer cleaners. If you don’t have the time or interest to make your own green cleaners, buy safer ones. How? Read the label. Look in the lower left-hand corner for the words CAUTION, WARNING, DANGER or POISON. Avoid products that say DANGER or POISON. Instead, buy products that have WARNING or CAUTION. Labels with WARNING carry a higher level of hazard than CAUTION. Sometimes two products that do the same thing have different warning labels like these products below – one says WARNING and the other says CAUTION. The product with the word CAUTION is safer than the product with WARNING. Buy the product with CAUTION.

Which product is safer_DangerCautionHighlight

Step 3. Store products safely – Help keep kids safer by storing hazardous products away from their reach. Lock cabinets or take a new look at where you keep your products.

Blond girl under kitchen sink

Step 4. Store and use hazardous products away from food – Children and adults can easily confuse edible products that are in look-a-like containers. Contact the Washington Poison Center 1-800-222-1222 for free help in case of exposure to poisonous, hazardous, or toxic substances.

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Step 5. Dispose of unwanted or expired medicines at one of these free, medicine take-back locations. Store the medicines you keep safely by locking them in a drawer, cabinet or medicine lock box.

Take Back Your Meds LT_Bartells_Cropped

Step 6. Keep hazardous materials in their original containers – Unmarked and reused containers are easily confused with food – like these containers below that were reused to store waste diesel fuel. If you have to store a product outside of its original container, clearly label and safely dispose of it.

diesel fuel stored in juice bottles_Kitsap Co Solid Waste

(Photo courtesy of Kitsap County Solid Waste)

Step 7. Take unwanted household hazardous products to one of these disposal locations. It’s easy to do and it’s free! Watch this video to see how easy it is.

HHW facility S shed-customer-haz-waste from Ned cropped3

Make room for the new. Clear out the stuff you no longer need!

Is making more space in your home  one of your New Year’s resolutions? If so, here are five tips to help you do this safely:

Tip #1: Take unwanted products or waste with these words on the label: CAUTION, WARNING, DANGER or POISON to a household hazardous waste site. These words are usually on the lower left hand corner of the front of the container. Locations.

warninglabels_safer2

Tip #2: Do you have chemicals in your home (think garage, basement, attic)? Avoid explosions by calling 206-263-8899 before you move them. Chemicals can also be in hobby kits or chemical bottle collections.

chem shelves in basement_Cropped_DW

Tip #3: Get rid of the latex paint you no longer need: Stir kitty litter into it until it’s almost solid and put the lid on it – then throw it in the trash. Detailed instructions. Oil-based paint needs to be disposed as hazardous waste. Locations.

kitty litter in paint

Tip # 4: Keeps medicines away from pets, children and teens! Bring your unwanted medicines to a voluntary medicine take-back program for safe disposal. Locations.

A young girl looks at a pile of pills that was left on a counter.

Tip #5: Make use of even your ripped and holey clothing and shoes. Take them to a recycling drop off that will ensure they are recycled into new clothing for those less fortunate. More info here.

ripped pants_greggoconnell_flickr

Two free workshops on Chemical Safety in Schools in early December

Dave Waddell in the lab

You and your colleagues are invited to attend to attend two free workshops on Chemical Safety in Schools:

Initial Chemical Hygiene Training

Tuesday, December 2, from 8:30 -11:30 am

South Seattle College

6000 16th Avenue SW, Seattle, WA 98106

Advanced Hygiene/Spill Response Training

Thursday, December 4, from 1:15 – 4:30 pm

Center School (at Seattle Center)

305 Harrison St. Seattle, WA 98109

Dave Waddell’s presentations are highly visual and entertaining. He is a school chemical safety expert and developer of the on-line School Chemicals Database.

You will:

  • Learn proper chemical storage and handling techniques.
  • See spill response procedures.
  • Understand how to dispose laboratory wastes.
  • Hear about mandatory upcoming chemical hazard trainings.
  • Practice identifying chemicals of concern.
  • Get to ask your questions.

Register now by emailing the following information to dave.waddell@kingcounty.gov

  • Your name
  • Your school
  • Your position
  • Let Dave know if you are interested in clock hours.
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