The Malta Independent on Sunday

How to handle your hazardous waste at home

- For more informatio­n on how to get rid of your hazardous waste, just visit http://dontwastew­

Although we may think that the waste we generate at home is innocuous, the truth is that a certain portion is considered to be hazardous in waste terms and hence does not belong in the black or recycling bag. These everyday materials contain chemicals that if not disposed of properly, are harmful to the environmen­t and subsequent­ly to human health.

While some products, such as sprays and paints, are easily identified with universal hazard symbols, others like medicines, make-up, soaps, batteries, syringes and light bulbs are not. In addition, summer brings with it a number of activities which may generate additional hazardous household waste such as ‘fjakkoli’, expired charcoal, charcoal ash, insect repellent or leftover paints from DIY decorating.

All of these items must be handled carefully and disposed of safely if we are to ensure that hazardous waste is treated properly and does not go to landfill. If wrongly disposed of, this kind of waste contaminat­es our environmen­t, aggravatin­g the pollution problem.

The six Civic Amenity sites which are found in: Mriehel, Ħal Far, Luqa, Magħtab, Ta' Qali and Tal-Kus in Gozo accept all hazardous waste, bulky waste and recyclable materials generated by households for free.

The sites are open seven days a week (including Public Holidays) between 7.30am and 5.30pm. Vehicles can drive directly through the facility avoiding the need for parking. No appointmen­t is needed so it really is plain sailing all the way! In fact the purpose of these centres is to optimise the collection of certain types of waste and increase the recovery of secondary materials.

Once collected and sorted this waste is exported for treatment, unless it is treated locally and reused for other purposes.

Many Local Councils also offer a free bulky refuse service, some of which will also collect hazardous waste. Speak to your local council to see what they offer.

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