Better waste removal
To dump or not to dump? That is the question—especially after a cottage cleanup, when you inevitably pull out leaking batteries from the kitchen drawer or find leftover paint or weed killer in the shed. If any of your discoveries have a Warning, Caution, Danger, or Poison label, the answer, most likely, is not to dump—in the garbage, down the drain, or on the ground, where these substances can poison watersheds, soils, and critters. But there’s no need to call in the haz-mat team, as long as you know what to dump and where.
In Ontario, all hazardous waste—including empty propane cylinders, spent batteries, leftover varnish, aerosol cans, paint thinners and solvents, and compact fluorescent light bulbs—must be disposed of at a hazardous waste treatment facility or a designated landfill. Municipalities have different regulations for what they accept and when. Contact yours for details.
It can be thrown out with the regular garbage as long as any remaining paint has dried up and solidified.
Engine oil and filters
These must be taken to a hazardous waste depot, or to an automotive centre or a marina that handles this on cottagers’ behalf. Remember to change the oil over a catch pan to collect any spills. And avoid having to throw out stale fuel in spring by adding a fuel stabilizer before your engine enters winter hibernation.
Construction waste and asphalt roofing shingles
Leftovers from a cottage reno can go to landfill. Sure, they may charge a fee, but a big portion of this waste can be chipped and reused. Old roofing shingles get a second chance as paving material if you take them to a company that specializes in shingle recycling.
These can be harmful to your health and to the environment. Apply common preservatives such as copper naphthenate using gloves, and make sure to take any leftovers in a clearly marked container to a hazardous waste depot. If you have treated wood to dispose of, scrap it in the regular garbage (never burn it). Or, minimize treated wood in docks and decks by opting for naturally rot-resistant wood or solid composite decking that doesn’t need finishing.