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Being concerned about the environment is important. And that concern should be translated in how we dispose of our waste.

We shouldn’t have the “one bin fits all” mentality, especially when it comes to household hazardous waste containers like old gas cans. Such household hazardous waste can actually be a big environmental pollution problem within the United States. However, the laws on how to properly dispose of these items can vary from state to state.

Photo: Pixabay/bpcraddock

Sometimes common household waste and other empty containers can cause harm to sanitation workers or pollute the waterways if they’re not properly disposed of. The same goes for household hazardous waste.

While federal law says it’s fine for these items to go in the regular trash, there are some communities that hold stricter standards when it comes to hazardous waste, such as an old gas can. If you are looking to get rid of such an item, here are some things to keep in mind:

11. Make sure that the gasoline has been emptied into another safety-approved gas can if storing it to later use in your car, motorcycle, or lawnmower. If you know you’ll never use the gas, give it to a friend or family member who will be using it. You can also refresh old gas with a gasoline additive to remove moisture.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

2. Make sure that you place the old gas can in a well-ventilated area that isn’t near an open flame or any electrical appliances. Then, you remove the lid in order to let the empty can be exposed to the air until all the residual gas has evaporated. Then, you take a permanent black marker to write “gasoline” on the can in order to identify what liquid had been previously stored in it. Then, place the lid back on top, but don’t seal it in order to let any remaining vapors escape through the loose lid.

Photo: flickr/JOHN LLOYD

3. Once you’re ready to get rid of the container, reach out to your local solid waste or household hazardous waste management agency in order to get information or instructions on how to properly dispose of it.

One other tip to remember is is to try and use up your gasoline before winter so that you’re not storing it over the winter.

It should also be noted that you should never smoke around gasoline or gas cans as even just a tiny amount of gas can produce highly flammable vapors. Also, never pour gasoline down your drain or into the ground of your yard.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

It is a hazardous waste material meaning that it will pollute the soil and water. And pouring a household hazardous waste material down a drain or into the ground can result in a violation of local and state law.

Likewise, don’t ever rinse out an old gas can and then pour that water down a drain or into the soil as that water can now contaminate the environment. Also, gas storage should only be done in gas-approved containers – don’t ever use other household items like plastic milk jugs or orange juice bottles as neither are designed for storing gasoline. And don’t just toss the empty gas can out into the regular garbage. Make sure that they get properly disposed of.

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