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Make Homes Safer From Hazardous Waste
GREENWOOD -- More than 100 Leflore County homes are safer places after families safely disposed of household hazardous wastes, but experts say hazardous waste remains in houses around the state.
Leflore County held a household hazardous waste roundup the last weekend in April. Lacey Henderson, Leflore County home economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said 125 families brought waste products from the house that, if not properly disposed of, are dangerous to the environment.
"Public awareness is up about the dangers of these waste items," Henderson said. "Almost everybody is learning more about what they should not throw away and what can be recycled."
Paint and tires were the most common items brought in that weekend in Greenwood. Chip Rogers, an environmental scientist at the Department of Environmental Quality in Jackson, said an estimated 625 gallons of waste paint were collected.
Other items disposed of were about 150 gallons of oil, 10 to 20 appliances, and smaller amounts of antifreeze, pesticides, insecticides, mineral spirits and drain cleaners.
Rogers said for 10 weekends each in the spring and fall, DEQ conducts household hazardous waste roundups around the state. DEQ provides grants for these events, and the government branch holding the event must meet 25 percent of the cost with credit for donations, volunteer labor and more.
"No city or county has had to pay anything out-of-pocket for the household collection days unless they wanted to," Rogers said.
Dr. Jimmy Bonner, specialist with the Extension Environmental Education Unit, said all hazardous wastes are a problem in the state because Mississippi doesn't have a licensed hazardous waste disposal site.
"The key to managing these wastes is to buy only the amount you can use over a reasonable period of time. Avoid the tendency to overstock the products that may become a hazardous waste disposal problem to you," Bonner said. "If neighbors or friends can use a leftover product, try to give it to them, because that's better than allowing it to become a hazardous waste."
Another way to prevent a household hazardous waste problem is to buy environmentally-friendly products.
The Federal Hazardous Substances Act defines items with the words ignitable, corrosive, explosive, reactive, toxic or radioactive as hazardous.
"That's many of the products in the bathroom, under the kitchen sink or in the storage shed," Bonner said.
Empty products are no longer a hazardous waste and can be disposed of normally.