I do this at least eight to ten times a day. Maybe more. I pitch something in the trashcan. We all do. Most of us probably don't notice how often it actually happens. It all equates to heaping up trash, and lots of it.

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Did you know there are certain items that are actually illegal to throw away? It's true. The consequences can be severe, incurring fines or worse.

According to a Bob Vila article, these items are not only illegal to toss in the dump, but dangerous for the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates Americans make more than 250 million tons of trash every single year. It's important to be in the know as to what's safe to dispose of, and what could get you in trouble.

LOOK: THESE 10 COMMON THINGS ARE ILLEGAL TO THROW AWAY

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Batteries

Batteries contain toxic materials like cadmium and mercury. By throwing these away you risk these chemicals reaching the soil or water system. You can find out how you can recycle your old batteries.


 

Photo: Canva
Photo: Canva
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Gasoline

Disposing of gasoline improperly is bad news. It doesn't matter if it's usable or not, it can damage, contaminate, or worse, start a fire. It has to be disposed of properly. There are good resources where you can find a disposal facility.


 

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Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Regular house bulbs are one thing, but fluorescent lights contain mercury, a hazardous element that can negatively impact the environment. Find out how you can dispose of them properly.


 

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Fireworks

It seems like a no-brainer but fireworks should never just be tossed in the trash. Make sure to soak any duds or unexploded fireworks for at least 24 hours, then wrap them in plastic for extra measure. Only then can they be disposed of in the regular trash.


 

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Paint

Paint is poisonous and flammable so it has to be disposed of properly. A Hazardous Household Waste (HHW) facility will accept such items. Learn more about HHW and find a recycling location in your area.


 

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Photo; Canva
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Mothballs

Although they're a great way to protect clothing and garments, mothballs are toxic and poisonous. They shouldn't be flushed or thrown in the regular trash. Set them aside with other waste you can take to an HHW facility.


 

Medicine
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Prescription Medicine

You should never flush old medications since they can affect the water supply and aquatic life. It's easy to find a safe place to bring your expired and unused medications.


 

Photo: Aaron Savage, Townsquare Media
Photo: Aaron Savage, Townsquare Media
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Smoke Detectors

If you have older smoke detectors, they more than likely contain a small amount of radioactive material that helps detect smoke. When disposing of detectors, they should be recycled with the manufacturer or taken to an HHW facility.


 

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Motor Oil

If you do your own oil changes, you should never throw old oil in the trash. Oil is flammable and toxic, and may contaminate water and soil. Try taking your old oil to an automotive shop. They can dispose of it and may even be able to clean and reuse it.


 

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Tires

It is illegal to throw tires in the trash. The steel belts can actually puncture landfill liners, thus contaminating the ground. For a small price, car dealers often will dispose of unwanted tires.

I've said it before and I'll probably say it again: I'm big on "the more you know". Knowing how to properly dispose of the items listed above could save you time, money or even jail time. Plus, it just makes good sense for the environment.

On the other hand, there are many things folks believe are illegal that are actually acceptable in the state of Texas. Check them out below. You may be surprised.

10 Things People Think Are Illegal in Texas That Are Actually Legal

These are 10 commonly misunderstood Texas laws that you should know.