Wastes: Government websites you should know about

waste and recycling truckDo you ever throw anything away? Then you are participating in a major social, economic, and environmental problem. We talk about throwing stuff away, but there’s no such place as away.

We can’t leave dealing with waste entirely to the government, either. Fortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency website has a many pages devoted to Wastes. They provide a lot of useful information to help us make the best choices for our own waste management.

The index page has links to four major groups of articles as well as a “Wastes Quick Finder.” If you recognize the topic you want in the quick finder, click there.

Otherwise, finding the same articles requires a lot of clicking. The advantage to all that clicking, though, is that you will find topics grouped thematically, not just in alphabetical order.

“What you can do”

This link goes to another index page. It has its own quick finder at the top. The main area of the page has two main choices: by season and by subject. I can save you at least one click: the menu you obtain by clicking “by subject” duplicates the menu that’s in the bar just under the quick finder:

  • At home and in the garden
  • On the go
  • At work
  • At school
  • In the community
  • How do I recycle my . . .

That last item gives you choices of electronics, compact fluorescent lights, household hazardous waste, and medical/pharmaceutical waste. All of these require special handling. It is both illegal and dangerous to put them with your regular trash. (Dead batteries, by the way, are household hazardous waste.)

Resource conservation

recycled waste plastic

Bales of recycled plastic, ready for sale to manufacturers.

Besides the quick finder, this page looks different from the previous one. It is less attractive, but it offers helpful explanations of the links:

  • Reduce, reuse, recycle
  • Reducing food waste
  • Composting for facilities [industrial composting]
  • Sustainable materials management
  • Conservation tools
  • Common wastes and materials

Hazardous waste

Here is the potentially scary stuff that makes the news whenever there is some kind of accident, whether at a plant or in transit. But remember: in many cases, the accidents result from carelessness no different from what too many people do at home!

  • Definition of solid waste
  • Types of hazardous waste
  • Generators [of hazardous waste]
  • Transporters
  • Treatment, storage, and disposal
  • Hazardous waste recycling
  • Corrective action
  • Test methods
  • International waste

Non-hazardous waste

This heading has only two links: to municipal solid waste and industrial waste. Presumably non-hazardous liquid wastes get flushed or poured down a drain, which leads them to a wastewater treatment plant.

The “Waste” pages do not deal with non-hazardous liquid wastes. For a quick finder of information related to wastewater treatment, look at Wastewater Management under “Water.”

By the way, I write another blog, Sustainable Green Homes, devoted to providing dependable information on environmental matters. Check it out!

Photo credits:
Trash and recycling truck. Some rights reserved by fairfaxcounty
Bales of recycled plastic. Some rights reserved by Lisa Yarost

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