One of the Leading Bay Area Movers Offers Advice

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While packing for a move, most people are also purging: getting rid of items that don’t fit the new place, are unwanted or are too difficult to transport. Among these are usually some articles that fit the category of household hazardous waste (HHW). Professional movers, including Magic Movers, may not be able to transport some of these (see “Prohibited Items” in our Helpful Tips section). In any case, your unwanted HHW requires special care in disposal. So plan ahead in your moving process to get rid of it properly.

Look for “Danger,” “Caution,” and “Warning” Labels

You’ll find a label on most of your household hazardous waste. Per the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, containers of products for use around the home must bear a warning label if the product is toxic, corrosive, flammable, combustible, or an irritant, and if it can cause harm if used without precautions indicated on the label. Products that are corrosive, highly flammable, or highly toxic must bear the word DANGER while other hazardous materials must be labeled CAUTION or WARNING. Additional warning words identify the specific hazard: “Causes Burns,” “Vapor Harmful,” “Flammable,” and so on. You may not put products bearing these labels in your trash or recycling bins or pour them down the drain or on the ground. Under no circumstances should you pour different hazmat products into the same container; keep them separate for your own safety and to allow proper recycling or disposal.

Some types of HHW do not come in a container and are not kept under your sink or in your garage or shop. Electronic waste, including television sets, computers, and cell phones, as well as batteries, fluorescent lamps, and solar panels, also may not be sent to the landfill because they contain toxic components. You are probably aware already of e-waste collection events and of local drop-off places for spent batteries. If you’re in a time pinch, residential movers may be equipped to dispose of these unwanted items for you; ask whether an additional fee is charged.

I’ve Found My HHW. Now What?

Different categories of HHW require different treatment, but if you are lucky, your town has one facility that accepts all types. Your first phone call should be to your garbage collection company, which can advise you on where to take your HHW. In some particularly enlightened areas, curbside pickup of hazardous waste is available by appointment or on specific dates. Another positive development is that the local dump often does more than dispose of HHW; it may also have a reuse program where your discarded paint and other types of HHW that are still useful may be obtained by contractors and others who need them. If your garbage company doesn’t pick up the phone, try their website. City government websites also usually have this information on their Public Works or Environment pages. Finally, simply typing your town’s name and “hazmat” into a browser’s search bar will usually show you the facility that handles HHW in your area.

Pharmaceutical Waste

A newer category of items requiring special disposal is pharmaceuticals, which the Environmental Protection Agency recently classified as groundwater contaminants. While the Drug Enforcement Administration used to recommend flushing unused medications down the toilet to avoid having them stolen from trash bins by drug abusers, the EPA opposes this practice. In response to the newly identified need for a safe way to get rid of old drugs, healthcare providers are beginning to adopt take-back programs. As you go through your medicine chest and find all those old bottles of expired medicines, put them in a bag and ask your pharmacist, garbage disposal company, or city government where you can take them for disposal.

Magic Moving is THE Northern California Moving Company to Call

Whatever it is that you’re taking along to your new home, whether across town or overseas, trust it to the care of Magic Movers, the movers and packers with the award-winning service and over 100,000 moves since 1990! Licensed, bonded, and insured.  Call us today at (877) 246-2442.