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Is Nail Polish Considered A Hazardous Waste?

nail polish on shelves in a storeThe Health Risks of Nail Polish & How to Properly Dispose Of It

Many people may not realize this, but nail polish is considered a hazardous substance due to the toxic chemicals that it consists of. 

Nail polish is only one of many substances that are generally deemed safe enough for everyday use, but which require special disposal precautions. Because many people are unaware that it’s a household hazardous waste, they instead carelessly throw away their rarely used nail polishes, or even ones that still have contents remaining. When thrown away into garbage cans, old nail polish and remover can harm sanitation workers. If you dump it down the drain, polish and remover can contaminate septic systems and entire watersheds.

Nail Polish Health Risks

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently come out and supported initiatives to promote healthier indoor environments for nail salon workers and their customers. With more and more nail salons popping up across the country, it’s the perfect time to review why nail polish and nail polish remover are considered hazardous waste, and why you should never toss old polish or remover in a regular, everyday use garbage can.

Many countries across the globe also categorize nail polish as a hazardous substance because of its is high flammability and ingredients (toluene and formaldehyde, for instance) being linked to major health problems. 

In most cases, nail salons install local ventilation systems over each nail station to reduce workers’ exposure to the toxic chemicals in polish and remover. The flammable ingredients in nail polish include nitrocellulose cotton, lacquer, toluene, and more. 

The acetone or ethyl acetate solvent found in nail polish remover is also extremely flammable. Ignitability is a key defining characteristic for hazardous waste. After long exposure to any of the above mentioned chemicals, they can contribute to respiratory issues, reproductive effects, and even cancer

How To Properly Dispose Of Nail Polish and Remover

If you’re looking to dispose of the nail polish and remover, then the appropriate thing to do is to hang onto them until you can take it to a local hazardous waste disposal center. 

The nail polish containers themselves can also be recycled whenever you no longer wish to use them. You can look for a hazardous waste drop-off or pick-up near you that will recycle them, as well as recycling centers in certain areas that you can take them to. 

If you’re unable to find a waste or recycling center, then here are four recycling ideas and things to consider when you want to get rid of unwanted nail polish.

Recycling Ideas For Your Unwanted Nail Polish

Donation: Donate your old bottles of nail polish that still have a usable amount remaining.

Shoe Strings: Have any shoe laces that have ugly looking ends? Put a dab of nail polish on the end of the laces to help bind the thin strands together. 

Touch-Ups: If you have any scratched materials around the house, use nail polish to touch them up.

Create Different Colors: If you have multiple different nail polishes that you no longer wish to use, then mix the colors together to create new ones. This could help you save money, and time, looking for that color somewhere in the store.

Properly Dispose Your Nail Polish With WasteXpress 

Spas and salons that use copious amounts of nail products should contact a hazardous waste disposal company in effort to mitigate employee and customer health and safety risks as well as minimize their environmental impact.

At WasteXpress, we have over 30 years of experience of providing fully compliant hazardous waste cleanup and disposal services across the Pacific Northwest. Toxic, medical, chemical, paint, hemp, cannabis, industrial, non-hazardous waste, and more.

Get a free quote today!

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