In and around your house
Use chemicals sparingly and dispose of them properly
Reduce the use of harmful chemicals in and around your home to decrease the risk of contamination of stormwater and the sewershed. Choose environmentally friendly alternatives to harmful chemicals whenever possible. Be careful with chemicals and dispose of them properly.
- Keep hazardous chemicals tightly sealed and secure on your property to eliminate the risk of spills.
- Do not put Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) (paints, batteries, cleaning products, motor oils) in the regular waste pick up. HHW must be brought to solid waste depots or can be dropped off at Community Environment Days in each ward run by the City. The City also operates the Toxic Taxi which will pick up more than 10L of HHW from your home. Check the City's website to learn what is HHW, and call 416 392 4330 for more information and to book the Toxic Taxi.
Never allow paint, varnishes or other household chemicals to enter the storm drain.
- Before washing brushes and rollers, wipe excess paint on old rags or newspapers. If latex: Wash in a bucket of water and let the paint particles settle. Pour off the water into the toilet or sanitary sewer sink and put the settled dried paint out with the garbage. If oil-based: Wash in a container of turpentine. Store tightly sealed and let the particles settle over 24 hours. Pour the clear turpentine into a jar to be re-used later and put the settled dried particles out with the garbage.
- Allow small amounts of paint to dry in the bottom of the paint bucket or tray and scrape the chips into the garbage. Dried out cans can be recycled in your Blue Box.
- Swimming pools and hot tubs:
If you have a swimming pool, drain the dechlorinated water onto your lawn or garden and let it infiltrate slowly, or drain it to the sanitary sewer. Do not drain the pool onto the street or into the storm sewers.
4) De-icers and Salts
Salts used to melt ice are a major pollutant in Toronto, causing significant damage to rivers and lakes and harming freshwater fish. Choose a simple and toxic-free way to clear your paths and driveway in the winter.
- Shovel and sweep the snow around your property regularly. Prevent ice and slippery snow by clearing snow before it can become compacted, or melt and re-freeze.
- Treat salt as a hazardous material – store it securely to prevent seepage and clean up spills as soon as possible.
- Sparingly use gravel and non-toxic, non-salt alternatives for areas that can’t be cleared.
- See the RiverSides Low Salt Diet for Ontario's Roads for more information