You may not realize it, but your home is likely filled with all
sorts of possible pollutants. Many everyday products such as paint
and lawn chemicals can be dangerous if used or stored improperly,
and cause serious environmental damage if tossed in the trash,
poured down the sink or washed into the storm sewers. The improper
disposal of household wastes can cause problems for the entire
community. Wastes can be explosive or highly flammable. Sewers have
exploded and garbage trucks have burned because people have
carelessly discarded flammable or reactive wastes. Some wastes are
poisonous to humans or wildlife, while others can cause cancer,
birth defects or other serious medical problems.
What can you do?
Read the information below to find out how you can reduce the
amount of pollutants you generate, make sure you are storing and
transporting such products properly, and most importantly, dispose
of your leftover pollutants properly at the twice-annual
Fairgrounds Pollution Collection Event.
- Before you buy a product, read the label and make sure that it
will do what you want. Buy only what you need.
- Read and follow directions on how to use a product and dispose
of the container.
Storing your pollutants
- Keep substances in original container and make sure label is
- If the container starts to leak, enclose it in a larger
container, clearly labeled.
- Maintain a list of stored hazardous products with name of
product and date of purchase.
- Most items should be stored in a cool, dry place, but read
label for instructions. Keep incompatible chemical products
separated. For example, accidentally mixed HTH chlorine and motor
oil can cause a fire.
- Periodically check containers for deterioration.
If you are unsure of your storage situation, call the experts:
Fire Department Hazmat Unit: (918) 596-1255; Tulsa City-County
Health Dept.: (918) 582-9355; Stormwater and Land Management: (918)
Transporting your pollutants to
a collection facility
- Wear gloves and use caution when handling substances.
- Place pollutants in the trunk or as far away from passengers as
- Do not smoke while handling or transporting chemicals.
- Do not remove the materials from your car once you arrive at
the collection facility. A worker will remove them for you.
The Metropolitan Environmental Trust holds two Fairgrounds
Pollution Collection Events a year, one in the spring and one in
the fall. The events are usually held over a Saturday and Sunday at
the Tulsa Fairgrounds. Most household pollutants, including paint
thinners, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, pool chemicals,
cleansers, acids, caustics, ammunition, batteries, motor oil,
antifreeze and other residentially generated materials can be
dropped off at no charge during the events. Latex paint is no
longer accepted because it can be disposed of with regular trash.
For more information or the date of the next event, call the M.e.t.
at (918) 584-0584 or visit the M.e.t.
Proper Use and Disposal of
Use: If possible, use
latex paint instead of oil-based or other paints which require a
solvent to clean up. Buy only the amount of paint you need. Most
paints list approximate coverage on the label. Measure the area to
be painted, simply by multiplying the length of the area by the
height. This will give you total square feet. Then measure the area
that will not be painted, such as doors and subtract this number
from the total square feet to determine the actual area to be
painted. Note that different surfaces and colors may require more
paint. Ask a sales clerk for assistance in purchasing the correct
Disposal: The best way to dispose of paint is
to use it up. If you cannot find use for the paint, give it to
someone who can, such as friends, neighbors, schools and community
service organizations. Liquid paint should not be poured down the
drain, dumped on the ground, or thrown in the trash (when still
liquid). Oil-based paint should be tightly sealed in its original
container and saved for a local household hazardous waste
collection day. Latex, or water-based paints can be left to dry by
removing the lid and sitting the can out of the reach of children.
When thoroughly dry, the hardened material can be discarded with
regular trash. The steel paint can be recycled if there is only a
thin coating of latex paint in the can. (Excerpted from the
Eaton County Resource Recovery Guide)