Keep your home safe by getting rid of potentially hazardous items the right way. Common household products have toxic parts that can be harmful to you and your family. These products include batteries, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), computers, electronics and non-latex paint.
Proper disposal or recycling protects you, your family and the environment. See below for how to handle unwanted household products.
Some batteries contain lead, mercury and cadmium. These compounds should not be burned or put in landfills. When burned, these toxic compounds enter the air and food chain. In landfills, they can seep into ground water.
See the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) website for collection dates and locations. You can also call the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation at (312) 744-4611.
To find a recycling center that accepts batteries in your area, visit Earth911 or Recycle Nation.
CFLs contain a small amount of mercury. If ingested or inhaled, mercury can be hazardous to your health. Do not put CFLs in your household trash since they contain mercury. CFLs should be sealed in a plastic bag and taken to a recycling site near you. Learn how to safely clean up a broken CFL. To find a recycling center near you that accepts CFLs, visit Earth911.
You can recycle all sorts of electronics: computers, printers, televisions, cellular phones, stereos, fax machines, DVD players and VCRs. Recycling electronics is better than throwing them in the trash. Electronics contain hazardous materials such as lead, arsenic, mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Computers alone contain several pounds of lead in each monitor, along with other chemicals.
Many recycling centers in Illinois accept electronics. Some computer manufacturers have created recycling centers for PCs and have agreements with charities that will accept them. Visit IEPA’s website, Illinois Recycling Association and Earth911 to find recycling programs or centers near you.
You can also call the toll-free Environmental Helpline at (888) 372-1996.
Paint accounts for 25% of the items taken to hazardous household collections. Most often, paint is not properly disposed. When this happens, paint waste can enter storm drains, rivers and streams, harming aquatic wildlife.
Many paint retailers in Illinois accept unwanted paint. After you drop off paint, it can be reformulated or remixed for someone else to use. See the IEPA list of acceptable wastes. Click here for IEPA's household hazardous waste collection dates and locations.
IPC is here to help. Calls our helpline, 1-800-222-1222, if you are or someone you know has ingested or been exposed to a hazardous household product. The call is free and confidential. Toxicology experts are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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