What To Do With Toxic Products? Ask Annie

Hello, Annie! I have a fair amount of things back from before I became more interested in what goes into the things I use. For instance, Old Spice Shower Gel or deodorant spray. They are packed full of chemicals and I do not want to use them anymore, but I’m not going to give them to a friend or something, knowing full well what’s in them.

Which leads me to my question, do you know how I can properly dispose of this kind of stuff without damaging the environment, or at least reducing the damage? –Patrick, GA

Dear Patrick,

I really appreciate your thoughtfulness in not wanting to poison anybody! I am on your side on that argument (some think it is better to use things up.)

I’d first separate really toxic products, such as pesticides, from old personal care products, and make sure those toxic chemicals go to a hazardous waste pickup. Otherwise the only sound advice is to contact your local waste departments to find out their guidelines. I have found that some communities have language to cover pharmaceuticals, prescription and non-prescription medicines, and personal care products, but not all. The EPA suggests contacting your local collection site to find out their guidelines and suggestions.

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21 comments

Kamia C.
Kamia T.7 months ago

The problem with all of these chemicals is that even when we think we're "disposing" of them, they go into landfills, then slowly but surely are seeping into our waters and soils. We simply need to start demanding they no longer are produced, period!

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Chris R.
Chris R.4 years ago

Thanks!~

Chris R.
Chris R.4 years ago

Thanks!~

Beth M.
Beth M.4 years ago

We need easier, more accessible ways to dispose of toxins. It should be a national priority.

Santanita G.
Santanita G.4 years ago

would like to see a solution pop up. Waste management should provide a way for poeple to dispose of chemicals on a regular basis. As far as I know I can take unused medication once a year. So I have to find a way to keep unused medication in my home, and away from the children. And every now and again, while I try my best to not buy chemicals, they still find their way into my home. Having a safe way to dispose of them regularly would be nice.

K s Goh
KS Goh5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Julie F.
Julie F.5 years ago

I appreciate the article.

Jenny W.
Jenny W.5 years ago

Thanks for this....but I don't know how helpful it is....I'd like to recycle the containers and just get rid of the product, but I don't dare put it down the drain, etc. so I'm trying to come up with something else...

Linda Solomon
Linda J Solomon5 years ago

Every year there is a day in the spring, where items of all types are collected in the city where I currently live, that are toxic, electronics, batteries; etc. I always feel good to give all my castoff problem goods to these people, but once a year is not enough. However there is a recycle place not too far away, where I believe I can take items, so not to worsen the situation; by putting it down a drain or into the ground. We have to remember that anything that is put into these places can worsen the environment and compromise groundwater. Whatever goes into the earth that is toxic messes up the earth. I don't choose to do that, so just collect items in a bag or box; and wait to get rid of them in an environmentally friendly manner. I am big on recycling, for any way that we can help, in our own little way; will make a difference. If everyone does their own little part, that does make a difference. It's just a shame that so many people don't seem to care. But I cannot be responsible for anyone else but myself, so I try to be; as best I can.