Making a Difference – Product Disposal
All Water Ends Up in the Ocean
kitchen sink, the bathroom, the garage and the tool shed typically contain
many products that are toxic, including oven cleaner, floor wax, furniture
polish, drain cleaner and spot remover. They contain lye, phenols,
petroleum distillates and trichlorobenzene. The high level of toxicity
associated with these products is not only a potential hazard to people, but
is now also posing a threat to the environment. As many chemically
based products are manufactured, consumed and ultimately poured down the
drain or otherwise disposed of, many of these chemicals end up in the ocean.
As a result, we now have ocean life with toxicity levels so high that “they
exceed the limits for disposal of hazardous waste at sea.” (Chadwick,
Douglas H., 2005 National Geographic Magazine)
Photo by Kerrie Best
Most contact with dangerous chemicals can be avoided by watching what you
buy, reading labels and choosing natural non-toxic products whenever
possible. Choose biodegradable products that can be washed down the
drain, and here are just a few helpful hints on how they can be used:
• Ovens can be cleaned by applying table salt to spills, then scrubbing with
a solution of baking soda and water.
• Lemon oil and linseed oil makes a good furniture polish.
• Clogged drains can be cleaned by pouring in ¼ cup baking soda followed by
½ cup vinegar. Then, close the drain until the fizzing stops and flush
with boiling water. A metal “snake” is a stronger method.
• Fruit and wine stains can be removed from clothing by immediately pouring
salt or hot water on the stain, then soaking in milk before washing.
• Grease can be removed with boiling water poured directly on the spot,
followed with dry baking soda, or ammonia and water.
• Carpets can be cleaned and deodorized by mixing two parts cornmeal with
one part borax. Sprinkle liberally, leave one hour, then vacuum.
For tough stains, repeatedly blot with vinegar in soapy water.
Sprinkle on baking soda, then vacuum to deodorize your carpet.
• Clean silver by boiling a solution containing a quart of water, a
tablespoon of salt and a tablespoon of baking soda. Add the silver,
boil it for three minutes and then polish it with a soft cloth.
• Use a few drops of essential oils in hot water or on a scrap of cloth as
non-polluting air fresheners.
• Use phosphate free laundry detergent and only in the amounts indicated.
• Grasscycle mow your lawn when it is about 3-31/2 inches high and cut off
no more than about one inch. The grass clippings and leaves will quickly
break down acting as a natural fertilizer. A mulching mower will cut the
grass into smaller pieces.
There are literally hundreds of other great suggestions on ways to use
natural and environmentally sound products for your home, lawn, business and
community on the web. Check
out the hot links
to various organizations with this
kind of information (and much more).
Hazardous materials that need special disposal include auto batteries,
gasoline, asbestos siding, motor oil, paint, chemicals, garden sprays and
toxins, acids and household cleaning products. Take these items to a
Hazardous Waste Collection Site. You can take used oil and antifreeze
to a gas station. Remember – it takes only one quart of oil to
contaminate up to two million gallons of drinking water, and the four quarts
of oil it takes to fill a car can form an oil slick nearly eight acres in
To find out all the nearest disposal sites in any area in the nation for any
hazardous product, go to this web site and enter your zip code: