Think before you BIN it: how to safely dispose of dangerous items

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Planning on getting rid of old paint, weedkiller, electronic goods, tyres or pool chemicals? Not a problem – just don’t chuck them in your rubbish bin.

What you have may be small in volume, but hazardous waste can be a big risk to the environment and people’s health if not dealt with correctly. It includes substances that are flammable, corrosive, chemically reactive, toxic, eco-toxic or radioactive.

Cayley McLean, Acting Manager, Sustainability and Waste, Tauranga City Council, says many people don’t realise what is considered to be a hazardous material.

“Things like certain household cleaners, garden sprays and chemicals, waste oil, batteries (mainly rechargeable batteries), car batteries and old pool chemicals are all really problematic if they are thrown away in the general rubbish. When hazardous waste is put into landfills it can cause problems because many of these materials don’t mix well and can cause fires or leak into the surrounding environment.

“Old agri-chemicals are particularly concerning as they don’t breakdown in the environment, and waste oil is a major concern for waterways as it can cause harm to birds and fish,” she says.

Hazardous waste needs to be separated from normal household waste and recycled or disposed of properly. Several companies in the Bay of Plenty are able to accept and process old, un-used or unwanted hazardous waste items, including paint, electronic devices, tyres and batteries.

In Tauranga, transfer stations at Maleme St and Te Maunga freely accept small quantities of hazardous waste from households including waste oil, garden and pool chemicals. Ms McLean says businesses need to take responsibility for their own hazardous waste and plan what they are going to do with it.

More information about drop-off locations and what can be recycled is available on the Tauranga City Council website.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council has also set up an easy-to- use directory to help residents and businesses in the Western and Eastern Bay plan for the disposal of hazardous waste. For each type of waste, it gives several drop-off options, contact details and whether there are costs involved.

For agri-chemicals contact Agrecovery to help with disposal.