Predicting Household Hazardous Waste Generation Rates

Chris Zeiss

DOI: 10.2190/6DMR-2QUE-7QL0-FX77


Discarded household hazardous products may contribute significant quantities of contaminants to landfills in rural communities. During 1991, a research study was undertaken in a rural resource based community to determine the weight fraction of hazardous waste in the household refuse stream and to develop and test models to predict the discard rates from households. The data collection program consisted of physical sampling of waste loads during four one week periods at the landfill, an inventory survey of households, and a sales survey of paint and detergent sales in the community. Three simple models based on stored volumes, sales volumes and combined sales and stored volumes were developed. Data were aggregated and used to predict the total discarded quantity of paint and detergent in 1991. The results were compared with the physical sampling results. An average of 3.2 percent of the household refuse are hazardous materials1 equivalent to about 90 tonnes per year in this community of 5,400 residents. These results show that rural refuse contains more hazardous materials than urban refuse, probably because of vehicle and house maintenance activities. While the storage based model overestimates discard rates, sales and combined models approximate, respectively, within 20 percent and 5 percent the measured residential discard rates in the study community. As a result, rural municipalities need to take action to reduce the quantities entering landfills and consider collection depots and waste minimization as alternatives to the once yearly toxic collection days.

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