Join the Fight to Ensure Clean, Safe Drinking Water!
Did you know that retailers have HAZARDOUS WASTE on their shelves?
Those hazardous substances pose a real threat to our safety – when that stuff gets into our ground and surface waters through improper handling or disposal, we end up drinking it.
Think it’s not a real problem? Well, everytime you go to the drug store, the home improvement store or the dollar store, when you walk down those aisles, you’re walking past products that really are hazardous substances.
The average American knows that some waste just can’t be thrown in the regular garbage. When this kind of stuff gets loose in the environment, it can be very dangerous to our health and safety. But do the businesses we buy these products from act as responsibly as we do?
There’s a Federal Law That Says They Have To…
RCRA – which stands for “The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act” – is a Federal Law in the United States, which was passed by Congress and became law in 1976.
The Environmental Protection Agency and all the states all work together to enforce this law, to protect our health and our local environments.
How does it Work?
RCRA divides waste into separate categories and lists, and makes specific rules about how the waste in each category must be handled by businesses in order to keep us and the environment safe. This waste is no joke – some of this stuff can cause cancer or other diseases, some is very flammable or can explode, some is corrosive, and some is flat-out poison!
These wastes can’t just be thrown into any old dumpster out back, nor can they be taken to regular landfills and just buried.
Sounds simple, right? So what’s the big deal?
So What’s The Big Deal?
The problem is that not every retailer makes complying with RCRA a top priority. Just like anything else, some folks are good at it, and some folks aren’t!
The “big deal” is that when they’re not staying within the law, they may be doing major damage to the environment and putting their neighbors’ health at risk. And this is no joking around – when this stuff gets into the environment, it can make people really sick!
This Stuff Is Actually Really Dangerous…
“The waste can harm humans, animals, and plants if they encounter these toxins buried in the ground, in stream runoff, in groundwater that supplies drinking water, or in floodwaters, as happened after Hurricane Katrina. Some toxins, such as mercury, persist in the environment and accumulate. Humans or animals often absorb them when they eat fish.” – National Geographic
And How Is This Crud Getting Loose In OUR Environment?
Primarily, this stuff gets in to our ground water due to mishandling. When cans, containers or plastic bags spill or break, when product get returned to stores after being opened, or when the stores are obligated to accept used materials (like oil and batteries and lightbulbs and such) they need to be handled according to the law.
But a lot of times, here in the Tampa area, they’re just thrown in the dumpster out back. They’re mopped up and just poured down the drain, or washed down the sewer. From there, it ends up in a landfill that’s not set up for hazardous waste, or goes into the local sewer system, and then it ends up in the water table and our drinking water. Yikes!
But State Regulators are on this, right? Well…That’s sort of the problem.
The problem is that Hazardous Waste is Slipping Through The Cracks
If regulators aren’t up in the retailers’ faces, those retailers aren’t going to do anything about RCRA. Right now, it’s the responsibility of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to make sure these retailers are sticking to the law.
The problem is – these agencies don’t look at the retailers unless there’s been a complaint. If no one is saying anything, they’re not investigating. And on top of that, they only investigate individual stores – they don’t do anything to make sure the companies have good internal policies and make it a company-wide practice to follow the law.
It’s up to us to make sure these guys are following the law.
If we want to protect our neighborhoods, our waterways, and most importantly, our drinking water, we have to take action ourselves. We have to tell the regulators AND the retailers we’re watching them and that we want action.
We have to demand that regulators and retailers do their part to keep hazardous waste out of our neighborhoods by complying with RCRA, a federal law.
Hey, you want to help protect our neighborhoods? Good!
Join the Fight to Ensure Clean, Safe Drinking Water!
To ensure that RCRA compliance happens in Tampa & Florida’s neighborhoods – meaning, that the big retailers actually care enough about the law to do something about it – we have to make a lot of noise. We have to tell the regulators and the retailers that we’re watching them, and we won’t allow them to slack off.
Hazardous waste is no joke, and we don’t want ourselves, our families, our children or our neighborhoods exposed to it, through our drinking water or otherwise.
BE A BULLDOG!
We’re a Tampa-area organization that cares deeply about keeping hazardous waste out of our kids’ drinking water, playgrounds, ballfields, fishing holes, swimming areas, and out of our neighborhoods in general. If you’d like to get in touch with us to learn more or to help us out or to hook us up with like-minded people, please just shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We don’t bite, we promise.
If you want to know how all this started, well… like a lot of really cool projects, “we” started off as “just me.”
Now, “we” is “me, plus some really cool friends, plus a lot of people all over Tampa and Florida who care about keeping hazardous waste out of our neighborhoods.”
I have firsthand knowledge of the problems I’m talking about on this website. I’ve worked in retail (at a few different places and companies) for the last several years, and I’ve seen too many things just dumped in a barrel or chucked into a dumpster – or, one time, poured down a drain – that really shouldn’t have been. Dangerous substances are handled wrong on a regular basis in this industry. Chemicals and toxic junk are just thrown right in the trash, like it’s nothing, because it’s like “hey man, we gotta clean this up, let’s get it done before the boss yells at us.”
You’ll notice I haven’t told you my name. I can’t. Well, I could but it’d be a bad idea. My employers wouldn’t be particularly pleased to find out that Hazmat Watchdog started with me. Use to be I wouldn’t care, I’d tell management where to stick it. Unfortunately, I grew up and have this thing called “rent” that I have to pay, so I can’t be all punk rock about it anymore.
And it’s not like the people who do this are evil. Far from it. I wouldn’t keep working with the people I work with if they were bad guys. The fact is this: half the time, the average joe doesn’t know what the heck to do with this stuff, anyway. It’s trash, right? Throw it out. The boss is under pressure from corporate to make her numbers, she’s got to manage the schedule, she’s got to try to manage the staff, she’s doing the best she can, but it’s a lot. Is it any wonder some stuff makes it through the cracks? Proper disposal of this kind of waste just isn’t a priority. And the worst part? No one’s watching us or keeping us honest.
The Department of Environmental protection is supposed to be watching us, to make sure we’re doing it right. Guess how many times a store I’ve worked at has been inspected in the last few years? Yeah. Exactly. And don’t come out and be all like “oh, government is lazy and stupid” because it’s not true. I have friends who work for cities and the State, too. It’s because the DEP is sorely underfunded and because this kind of enforcement isn’t a priority.
Look – it doesn’t matter what my name is. I don’t want to get on Anderson Cooper or Oprah, I don’t want a trip to meet the President. It’s not about me – it’s about our environment and the crap we’re pouring into it. I don’t want to make money or get famous or get my “15 minutes.” I don’t care about that – I just want to DO something to protect our environment and make our world better for our kids. I have a kid now. I don’t want her to grow with this stuff in her drinking water or seeping out the dirt at her playground. That’s why I and my pals – and all the people who’ve joined us – are doing this.
We need to be regulated. We need to be inspected. We need to be taught what to do, how to do it right, and we need someone to make sure we, and our bosses, are being held accountable. If you have kids or or grandkids or pets or like to fish or be active outdoors or drink safe water or just plain ol’ love the earth we live on…
Please sign the petition, sign a letter, tell your friends. And, if you want to be a REAL bulldog, download the petition pack, get your friends to sign it, and send it in. Thanks for reading, and thanks for caring.