Dealing with Household Hazardous Wastes

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) are leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, pesticides etc. HHW contain potentially hazardous ingredients and require special care and safe disposal. 

household-hazardous-wastes

A typical home can contain a vast array of household hazardous wastes used for cleaning, painting, beautifying, lubricating and disinfecting the house, yard, workshop and garage. The chemical-based household products from a single home may seem insignificant; but, when millions of homes use similar products, handling, storing and disposing them improperly may have the combined impact and becomes a major problem.

The health and safety of our families, neighborhoods and environment is threatened when HHW is stored or disposed of improperly. These products should not be put in the garbage bins or disposed in the storm drains or burned, as they pose a threat to human health and the environment. Thousands of consumer products are hazardous. The general categories are:

  • Automotive products: Gasoline, motor oil, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, car wax and cleaners, lead-acid batteries, brake fluid, transmission fluid etc.
  • Home improvement products: Paint, varnish, stain, paint thinner, paint stripper, caulk, adhesives etc.
  • Pesticides: Insecticide and insect repellent, weed killer, rat and mouse poison, pet spray and dip, wood preservative etc.
  • Household cleaners: Furniture polish and wax, drain opener, oven cleaner, tub and tile cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, spot remover, bleach, ammonia etc.
  • Other: Household batteries, cosmetics, pool chemicals, shoe polish, lighter fluid, prescription medicines etc.

Each year, thousands of people are injured by exposure or accident involving hazardous household products.  Because of the dangers they pose. These products require special awareness, handling, and disposal.  In order to protect health and environment, every consumer should know how to properly use, store, and dispose of hazardous household products. 

Many common household products contain hazardous chemicals.  Once released into the environment, these substances may pose a serious threat to living organisms.  Small quantities of hazardous substances can accumulate over time to reach dangerous levels and contaminate the air, water, and soil. 

Here are some basic guidelines for managing household hazardous wastes:

  • Select the least toxic item and buying only the minimum quantity as required.
  • Read the entire label carefully for health warnings and use good judgment when choosing any product.
  • Store the product at a safe place and away from the children reach.
  • Avoid aerosol products.
  • Always use hazardous products in a well-ventilated area.
  • Never leave containers open.  Many products are volatile, evaporating quickly into the air. 
  • Always seal containers tightly after use.
  • Never mix chemicals and hazardous products. 
  • Do not use spent chemical containers for other purposes.
  • Wear protective clothing such as gloves and a mask when dealing with any hazardous material. 
  • Wash clothing exposed to hazardous materials separately from other clothes.
  • Do not eat, drink or smoke while using hazardous products.
  • Clean up the place after using hazardous products. Carefully seal products and properly refasten all caps.
  • Never put hazardous products in food or beverage containers.
  • Keep products away from sources of heat, spark, flame or ignition.
  • Know where flammable materials are located in your home and how to extinguish them.
  • Keep a multi-purpose dry chemical fire extinguisher in your home.

Termite Infestation: Essential Steps on Eliminating Termites

Getting professional termite control services can be very expensive, that goes without saying. Because of this, many people out there are beginning to wonder whether they can eliminate termites by themselves and whether choosing this route will be effective or not. If killing termites are something you’re considering then you happen to be exactly where you need to be right now. Out of the numerous rodents, critters, insects and other pests, the termite is arguably among the most dangerous of them all.

Termite is a pest that has the ability to completely destroy the foundation of your house in just a couple of years or so. And that’s not even the worst part, which is for the first few years they’re basically unnoticeable. What this means is that they attack with no warning at all. Horrible no? Anyway, let’s take a look at a few ways you can get rid of termites and eliminate infestation.

  1. Poisoned Bait

If you happen to be the type that’s a bit cautious of having large amounts of pesticides being sprayed all over your home then you might want to consider trying out this technique. With poisoned bait, you won’t have the need to use pesticides. The bait you set will attract termites that are foraging around and these termites will eventually carry this bait back to where the colony resides. You can place this bait in and around the whole house.

Some products go as far as having a detecting system as well aside from the bait itself. When installed, these types of bait systems will alert you when the bait is consumed. You can do this yourself or hire a professional. The costs of professional services vary and mytermitetreatmentcosts.com can help you determine the different costs available to you. Oh, and pest control professionals also employ the use of bait systems sometimes.

  1. Liquid Termite Barrier

This method may not have the ability to kill the termites already infesting your home, however, it happens to be a fantastic way of preventing them from getting in. The idea behind this technique is to surround your home completely in a pesticide barrier that’ll poison any termites upon contact. While many commonly use it around the foundation of the house, you can also use it around certain wooden structures, tree stumps and wood piles.

Termidor happens to be one of the most effective of them all when it comes to products of this nature. Termites can’t detect it at all and it is very hard for them to avoid something they can not see nor smell.

  1. Direct Chemical Treatment

While both poisoned bait and liquid barrier treatment are very effective when handling the outside of the house, there use isn’t really practical for the inside of the house itself. Yes, they can kill termites but they can’t be used directly within the house.

When you spot termites inside crevices found in your walls, rafters or attic, you’ll probably need something that can handle these annoying little critters right there and then. In such cases, direct chemicals will usually be your best bet. Most of these products come in a foam or spray, sprays being the ones that are most commonly used around the globe. With this method, all you need to do is locate the crevices and voids where the termites are and then spray the chemical or apply the foam.

  1. Boric Acid

An ‘in-between’ solution that many people consider to be the best when it comes to the debate of natural solutions vs pesticides in pest control is boric acid. This method works on a number of insects, including the termite, It is theorized that this acid attacks the insect’s metabolic and digestive system. After the initial contact, it is known to take from around three to seven days before the exposed termite dies. And while it’s not exactly a natural solution, it happens to have much lower toxicity levels as compared to most of the other pesticides found on the market.

Borax, as it’s also commonly referred to, is widely available and is often found in powder form. However, you can also find it as a borate solution. When in powder form all you need is a good quality powder duster and then apply it by dusting the affected areas.

Your home is undoubtedly a very precious thing and pests should in no way be the cause for you to re-investment in it. They shouldn’t be the ones to decide for you whether you need to put in money into fixing it up again. Hopefully, these few methods highlighted in this article will help you ensure that this does not happen to you.

7 Crop Health Metrics That Matter to Farmers

Crop health is of paramount importance to farmers; thus, careful and consistent monitoring of crop health is an absolute must. A recent study on coffee yield losses from 2013 to 2015 revealed that pests and diseases led to high primary (26%) and secondary (38%) yield losses in the researcher’s sampled area. This highlights the significance of closely paying attention to such detrimental factors in your crop’s environment. Doing so will ensure maximum yield and profit for farmers come harvest time.

To look at crop health monitoring as governed by just one or two aspects, however, is a serious mistake. Rather, a holistic approach must be adopted; in other words, more factors need to be monitored than just pestilence and disease.

Here are seven of the most important crop health metrics for farmers to monitor, based on the Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) Program’s guidelines.

1) Crop appearance

Perhaps the most obvious indicator of crop health is their general appearance. While not an all-in-one, foolproof method of gauging the current condition of a particular set of crops, a farmer possessing the right tools and knowledge can tell quite a lot from simply looking at the state of his or her plants.

Lightness or discoloration in foliage more often than not points to chlorosis, a state in which plants produce insufficient chlorophyll. Modern methods of crop health monitoring, including new technologies that utilize both near-infrared and visible light, allow farmers to actively and accurately monitor chlorophyll content.

2) Crop growth

Among the indicators of poor crop growth are short branches, sparse stand, and the rarity or absence of new shoots. This, of course, will inevitably affect your total yield in a negative way. Under ideal circumstances, there should be robust growth and dense, uniform stand in your crops.

3) Tolerance or resistance to stress

Simply put, crop stress is a decrease in crop production brought about by external factors. An example would be exposure to excess light and high temperatures, which may disrupt photosynthesis (known as photoinhibition). As a result, crops will have insufficient energy to bear fruit or grow, and may even sustain lasting damage to their membranes, chloroplasts, and cells. Healthy crops are stress-tolerant, and can easily bounce back after being exposed to stressors in their environment.

4) Occurrences of pests and/or diseases

An indicator that your crops are extremely susceptible to pests and diseases would be if over 50% of the population ends up getting damaged by said factors. Under the right circumstances, less than 20% of your crops would be negatively affected by any invasion of pests or spread of disease, allowing them to easily recuperate and increase in number once more.

Building crop resistance against harmful insects and diseases can be done in a number of ways, including improving crop diversity, crop rotation, using organic pesticides such as Himalayan salt spray and eucalyptus oil, and even genetic research and enhancement.

5) Weed competition and pressure

Apart from insects and plant diseases, weeds can also spell doom for your crops, if left unchecked. In the event that your farm becomes overpopulated with weeds that will steal the nutrients from your crops, you will certainly notice that your crops are steadily dwindling. Healthy crops, on the other hand, would eventually overwhelm the weed population and reclaim dominance over your field.

6) Genetic diversity

To have only one dominant variety of crop in your farm is tantamount to putting your eggs in a single basket. For instance, you should consider the importance of having multiple disease-resistant crop varieties on your farm. Don’t fall prey to the temptation of replacing them entirely with a single, higher-yielding type.

It is essential to buil crop resistance against harmful insects and diseases

7) Plant diversity and population

In an ideal setting, there should be more than two species of plants in your field. Counting the actual number of trees or plants across your farm, as well as the naturally occurring vegetation on all sides of the area, can also give you a better perspective on your farm’s overall crop health.

Importance of crop management system

Some farmers become overly reliant on insecticides and other chemicals to eliminate their pest problems — a grievous error, as this will likely lead to even more serious problems. Even the indiscriminate application of mineral fertilizers may inadvertently boost pest populations by making conditions ideal for them to thrive.

Ultimately, a combination of the right knowledge and the proper technology is a must in measuring and monitoring crop health metrics. Farmers must always be aware of the current health of their crops, and must be prepared to address any problems with solutions that don’t end up causing more.