Discarding liquids, and other thoughts

alisandeOctober 25, 2005

I'm cleaning off a couple of rather disgusting shelves that have held the same cleaning products for years. I use maybe three or four products, and the other bottles have sat there collecting dust (literally!) all this time. So I'm trashing them. I'm reluctant to put anything down the sink, but all these liquids (glass cleaner, kitchen sprays, car and furniture wax, etc.) are making my trash cans awfully heavy. Is there another (environmentally sound) way to dispose of them?

Couple of thoughts I wanted to share: My cleaning/organization thinking over the years has gone through various phases including analysis of my incompetence, analysis of the house's failings (no closets, etc.), and general, all-around self-hate. :-) However, I have distilled all the analyses and recriminations into one three-word mantra: Too Much Stuff. It has really simplified my mission.

I was also thinking that most of us don't feel that we excel at cleaning and organizing, and that affects how we approach it. If I know I'm good at something, I jump into it with some energy and enthusiasm. OTOH, if I'm faced with a mess of my own making, I'm uncertain how to undo it, and I wade in timidly...or I don't wade in at all.


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Since the stuff has already been manufactured and purchased, I don't think there is much of a "good" environmental way to make it disappear. I think trying to find a place the stuff could be used might be a good way go.

Any churches in your area that have to purchase cleaning supplies? Young couples on tight budgets? Clean off the dust (and I do know what you mean :)) and offer the products to someone. Do you have Freecycle in your area?

Our municipality will take those kind of things through the toxic waste program. They resell the stuff if it is still good. I took two van loads of paints and paint thinners, etc. last year. It was always easier to let it pile up than get rid of it.

We also have a resale store for Habitat for Humanity and they will resell cleaning supplies if the bottles are 2/3 full.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 5:54PM
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Our county has a hazardous waste roundup every weekend where all kinds of things can be dropped off, including cleaning supplies, medications, fertilizer, etc. Maybe county or whatever you have does the same.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 10:56PM
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We also have drop off days for hazardous waste every few months. Ours includes batteries, too, but I've never heard of including medications.

I've often used up a cleaning product I hated just to avoid saving it for hazardous waste day, LOL.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 5:32AM
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You can also try local animal shelters or even women's shelters (not to get OT but I've never heard of a "men's shelter"). Most of those places run on thin shoestrings, and they may be quite happy to accept safer cleaning liquids.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 8:31AM
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It's the darn latex paint that I don't know what to do with. You can't put it in hazardous waste. I've had the first 3 cans that I'm experimenting with sitting on my screen porch all spring and summer - trying to get them evaporated, but they're still sloshy. Someone suggested cat litter - does that really work?

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 11:07PM
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Our waste guys will take it, but I've also offered it on Freecycle. Again, took a bunch to the Habitat store.

The easiest way to get it to evaporate is to pour a coat onto cardboard and let dry. Then do another coat and let dry. Until the can is empty.

IF you have dirt patch, you can pour a coat out there and when it's dry just peel it up and throw away.

We used a bunch with a multi-colored paint job in the garage. Getting rid of old paint is really a pain.


    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 3:19AM
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There are some places which will accept usable (i.e., clean, non-frozen) latex paint and recycle it. In my area we have a place called "The ReUse Center" which will accept cans partially-filled; they then sell them cheap to people who need a little paint for a project, cabin, etc. Unless the collection center is local, though, you'd have to be a dyed-in-the-wool "greenie" to spend the money to ship it.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 8:57AM
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I too have heard you should spread paint out to let it dry.

And I have heard of the re-use places.

In fact, even if you don't have such a place, maybe freecycle.org or a note on the bulletin board at the grocery store would turn up someone who could use it.

Even if it's a small amount, someone could mix it in w/ other paints. (put several blues together and see what you get, etc.)

I remember the time when my dad was trying to help my aunt and thought she needed to paint her "malevolent yellow" kitchen some calmer color. There wasn't a lot of money to work with, and my aunt said she had a half a can of one white, a half a can of a cream, and a half a can of beige. My dad mixed them all together and got some reasonable off-white, and painted her kitchen. (made a HUGE difference)

And I think cat litter does work.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 9:57AM
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I would contact my county waste management agency and ask about hazardous waste disposal.

However, the first thing that I would do is ask friends and family if they want it. THEN, I would contact the county.

I had to do this last year with the move. I was able to get rid of everything without having to go through a lot of work.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 10:34AM
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Here's the deal on discarding paint. Pour kitty litter (cheap stuff) into the paint can - after it absorbs and hardens you can throw it away. Make sure you leave the lid off when you discard the can so that the garbage men know that it's not full of paint.

We got that bit of info directly from our waste management company.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 2:44PM
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Thank you to everyone for all your suggestions. I'll work on that as a project for the winter. I wonder what would happen if I poured paint on the expected winter snow! Actually I think I'll try kitty litter for the 3 still out on the porch, and put some notices up at church & the food store.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2005 at 11:19PM
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Latex paint is cleaned up with soap and water, so I suspect dumping it on the snow will melt the snow some and the water will thin it out and make a poisonous mess. Please don't do it.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2005 at 10:14AM
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I googled New Jersey home hazardous waste disposal and found some information on this site:


I don't know your county, but I would definitely start on this site.

Here is a link that might be useful: Click here

    Bookmark   October 30, 2005 at 11:06AM
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