A hazardous waste is a waste with properties that make it dangerous or capable of having a harmful effect on human health or the environment, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
This could include drain cleaners, paint thinner, oil-based paint, batteries and propane tanks. So, it’s important for residents to dispose of those items in the proper manner – not simply throw them away with daily garbage.
Hardin County Solid Waste Coordinator Stephanie Givens said they recently had a resident throw out a propane tank, which combusted in the back of a garbage truck.
“It should be common sense not to put it in the garbage,” Givens said, noting, however, it is fairly common for people to throw items they shouldn’t in with their regular garbage.
Red River Waste Solutions Vice President of Business Development and Government Relations Steve Smith agreed. Red River Waste Solutions services Hardin County, including construction and demolition waste collection, dumpster rentals, trash compaction and industrial recycling.
Smith said any pressurized container, such as a propane tank, could be ruptured and explode when the sweep of the garbage truck comes down and also could spark and ignite someone standing near the material.
“Propane, fire extinguishers, any of those kinds of things can rupture any time,” he said.
Smith said anything explosive, corrosive or flammable needs to be disposed of properly.
The same goes for any liquids such as paint. He said in the past they’ve had a paint can rupture and cover a worker. He said if the paint had gotten in his eyes or ingested, it could have caused problems.
“Any liquids or anything like that should not be put in there,” he said.
If a resident needs to find out what to do with waste, Givens said they simply need to make some phone calls.
Givens said a person could be charged with first-degree wanton endangerment, a Class D felony, punishable by one to five years in prison and fines, for placing hazardous waste in the garbage, if convicted.
The county also offers an opportunity for residents to dispose of hazardous waste each year. This year’s Household Hazardous Waste and Prescription Drug Disposal Day is from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 24 at Metalsa, 750 North Black Branch Road.
For more information, call the Hardin County Solid Waste Department at 270-360-9207.