Paint, Cleaners, and Batteries, Oh My!

How do I dispose of leftover paint? Can I put pesticides in my trash? These are questions that P2AD will be grappling with in the next couple of months as the Division develops a household hazardous waste (HHW) program as part of our mission.

Presently, P2AD is proactively pursuing activities focused on household hazardous waste management and prevention. These activities include:

  1. The formation of a Household Hazardous Waste Work Group
  2. Conducting a statewide HHW survey
  3. Developing educational material, including a series of brochures and handouts

As first discussed in the Winter 1994/95 issue of From the Source, the Division created the HHW Work Group in January of this year. The mission of this work group was to provide the Director of P2AD with recommendations on the feasibility of a state-sponsored program which would reduce household hazardous waste generation in Georgia. The workgroup was comprised of 15 citizens representing government, trade associations, retailers, and environmental groups.

The workgroup developed recommendations which were available for public comment until August 7, 1995. The highlights of the final report (September 22, 1995) include the following five recommendations in no particular order:

P2AD should serve as the lead state agency for HHW prevention and management. P2AD should develop guidelines for conducting HHW prevention and management programs. P2AD should promote pollution prevention of HHW through various public education programs, such as incorporating HHW educational materials into existing school curricula. P2AD should (as funds are available) fund several pilot household hazardous waste collection programs in the state. These projects would hopefully provide information to the state regarding the feasibility of various types of collection events. P2AD should create and/or promote collection for certain HHW items. (Recommendations made by the workgroup are non-binding.)

The second activity focused on household hazardous waste is a statewide survey. P2AD and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) are working with Georgia State University’s Applied Research Center to develop the survey. The purpose of the survey is to 1) determine the public’s perception and level of knowledge about household hazardous waste and 2) gain a better understanding of current disposal practices and homeowners’ interest in a community household hazardous waste program in Georgia. The survey will also serve as an evaluation tool to design a program and act as a baseline to measure the projects’ success. The results of this survey should be available by late December.

Finally, P2AD is in the process of developing a series of technical and educational material, including brochures for local governments and the general public. Since the mission of P2AD focuses on pollution prevention, materials will follow the waste management hierarchy of prevention, reuse, recycle, and proper disposal or treatment, and will focus on eliminating improper disposal of household hazardous waste.

P2AD’s Information Center contains numerous articles on household hazardous waste including educational materials, brochures, case studies, and publicity paraphernalia. To learn more about household hazardous waste or for a complete list of the resources available on the subject, contact Stephanie Siniard at (404) 165-5120 or 800-165-2443.