Uh-oh – hazardous waste

Edna chose this spring as the time to tackle her late husband’s shop and tool shed. She figured that the month of May would be opportune for this outdoor work. Her son-in-law noticed some wasps hanging around the outbuildings, so he sprayed the area with wasp and hornet insecticide a day ahead of when the family would work on the buildings. At first it went reasonably well…the various family members took what items they could use themselves. Then they set aside a bunch of tools and chemicals that Arthur had used in his shop that they thought could be sold or donated. Some things were taken, but there were items that were left behind to dispose of, and this is when Edna and her family discovered that there were laws in place that prohibited the disposal of some of the items because they were considered hazardous waste. There were cans of old paint, batteries, gasoline cans, and pesticides. There was even a stash of fluorescent light bulbs that Arthur had replaced but not disposed of. Fortunately, Edna’s neighbor showed her a website on Maine.gov that provided the information she needed in order to get rid of the hazardous waste items.
When you are planning to clear out a garage or shop, check with your town or city government and see what ordinances apply and what resources for disposal are available to you. Find out if there are “amnesty days” when you can bring in collections of electronic wastes such as television sets and obsolete computers and their peripheral equipment, or even collections for the hazardous wastes.

Harriet Vaughan

About Harriet Vaughan

I am a Senior Move Manager, working with Senior Citizens and their families when it is time to downsize or just make the home safer and more comfortable for aging in place. I help these people make decisions about what to keep, throw out, donate, or sell. I also offer workshops on "Getting Things Done When You Are Over 60". I write about how to overcome memory lapses and how to use your physical energy well. I have a degree in Home Economics from the University of Maine. I live in Coopers Mills, about 14 miles east of Augusta. I have been married for almost 50 years to my husband, Chuck Vaughan. Our business is called Legacy Years Transition Services.