DES MOINES-As many Iowans plan major cleaning and home improvement projects this spring, the Iowa DNR recommends a "green" approach.
Before pouring old household cleaners down the drain, tossing last year's weed killer in the trash or heading out to buy cans of new paint, consider the environmental impacts, according to Tom Anderson, program leader for the DNR's Household Hazardous Materials (HHM) program.
"Many household cleaners and chemicals make our chores easier-and nearly every house in Iowa has items like toilet cleaners under the sink, antifreeze and motor oil in the garage, and pesticides in the shed," said Anderson. "Along with the conveniences these products provide comes a responsibility to properly purchase, use, store and dispose of them."
According to Anderson, the first step in handling HHMs is reading the product label.
"Labels contain information about how to safely manage that product to help protect the environment and the health of your family," said Anderson.
Along with reading labels, Anderson suggests looking for eco-friendly product alternatives, and purchasing only what you need.
Regional Collection Centers (RCCs) located across the state provide safe disposal of unwanted HHMs at no cost to households. Many RCCs also provide a Swap Shop, where usable materials, such as paint and cleaners have been dropped off and are available at no charge.
Anderson would like to see more Iowans commit to greener spring cleaning. He challenges Iowans to rethink the way they purchase, use and store HHMs, collect their unwanted HHMs and make an appointment at the local RCC for safe disposal this spring.
To promote the concept, the DNR has launched a spring campaign, "Change Our Ways, Change Our World" that encourages proper use and disposal of HHMs.
Visit www.SafeSmartSolutions.org for more information on HHMs, along with a listing of Iowa RCCs.