The Environment in Peril
Can We Make a Difference?
► Select products that are water-based or have low amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
► Use water-based paints. Look for paints labeled zero-VOC.
► Paint with a brush, not a sprayer.
► Store solvents in air-tight containers.
► Buy only as much of these products as you are likely to need to do the job.
► Use them carefully, according to label directions.
► Inquire about hazardous waste depots and special household hazardous waste collection days in your community.
► If there is no depot but you know that household hazardous waste collection days will be held in your area, store your products safely, and be sure to watch for instructions on how to transport them to the collection site. If your community does not have a hazardous waste depot or collection days, contact your municipal public words department or work with the community to have one set up.
► Always store hazardous products in their original containers, so, that handling and disposal instructions on labels can be followed and others are not misled about the contents. Never use empty hazardous product containers to store any other materials. Completely use if you can, or pass on to other people.
► Store hazardous products in tightly closed containers in a well–ventilated area where children and pets cannot get at them.
► Do not burn any hazardous household products or their aerosol containers in fireplaces or backyard fires.
► Do not discard batteries used in flashlights, radios, clocks, watches, calculators and toys in your ordinary garbage; save them for disposal at a hazardous waste depot.
► Unwanted leftover portions of paint and solvents, spot removers, carpet and furniture cleaners, floor and furniture polishes, and glues should be tightly sealed in the original containers, placed in plastic bags, and disposed of at a hazardous waste depot or safely stored until your community has a hazardous waste collection day.
► Allow used thinners and solvents to sit in a well–sealed jar until particles settle. Pour off the clear liquid and re–use. Remaining contaminants should be taken to a hazardous waste depot.
► If you have leftovers of barbecue starter fluid, lighter fluid, gasoline, furnace and motor oil , dispose of them at a hazardous waste depot.
► Never flush leftover prescription medicines or over–the–counter drugs down the toilet or pass them on to anyone else. Return unused medicines to your local pharmacy for proper disposal. Completely empty medicine containers should never be re–used.
► Any leftovers of pesticides should be disposed of properly. Phone your provincial environment department for instructions; disposal methods vary depending on the type and amount of pesticide.
► Never dump unwanted pesticide onto the ground or into drains, sewers, streams, rivers or lakes.
► Use insecticidal soaps in place of chemical sprays for insects on plants in your home.
► Consider buying beneficial plants, such as spider plants, that help filter out air impurities in your home.
For Home Repairs and Renovations
► Paint with a brush, not a sprayer.
► If your house was built before 1980, the interior or exterior paint may contain lead. Removing old paint is potentially hazardous. Before removing old paint, contact your local environment agency to obtain its safety rules for removing and disposing of lead–based paint.
► Use less–toxic paints, paint removers, stains and varnishes, waxes, glues and adhesives, cleaners, etc.
► Use EcoLogo™ or other low–pollutions paints.
► Asbestos can be a health hazard for renovators of older homes, and is carcinogenic with prolonged exposure. Contact your provincial health department for advice on identifying and handling asbestos.
► If you must use products containing hazardous chemicals, wear rubber gloves, eye goggles and, if appropriate, a respirator while doing so.
► Driveway sealers release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere that can contribute to the formation of smog. This can be reduced by using approved sealers, which contain lower levels of VOCs