Household hazardous waste (HHW) is not always separated for proper handling before disposal. When disposed improperly to landfills and municipal treatment plants, these products can have significant impact on the environment. Although HHW is a small portion of municipal solid waste, the presence of HHW in solid management facilities that are not equipped to handle them can have problematic effects, resulting in environmental pollution, damage to facilities, and even injury to workers. In many countries, HHW is not subject to legislation unless separated from other household waste because of its small percentage and the challenge in enforcement. In addition, there is no standard definition of HHW globally; therefore, what constitutes to HHW in one country may not be in another. Government legislation and schemes such as Extended Producer Responsibility play a vital role in encouraging proper disposal among consumers, especially when they are convenient and accessible. In this chapter, hazardous household products in different countries are considered along with common improper and acceptable disposal methods. Furthermore, the impacts of improper disposal on the environment are explored with an emphasis on landfill leachate and wastewater treatment plant effluent. Finally, current legislation and programs that encourage proper disposal are discussed.
Part of the book: Municipal Solid Waste Management