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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Survey of household hazardous waste generation and collection preferences in the City of Vancouver, British Columbia Jones, Evan Lewis


The potential hazards to the environment and to human health posed by several types of household hazardous wastes (HHW) and waste products are discussed in this paper. This discussion serves to lead into an evaluation of the design and operating parameters of a collection program for these wastes, and the influence that various design parameters may have on the ability of the collection program to remove the wastes from uncontrolled waste stream. A review of existing HHW collection programs and of surveys regarding HHW's is presented. A survey of over 200 households in Vancouver was conducted to determine stored quantities and generation characteristics of specific household hazardous wastes. Respondents were also asked to identify their preferences and concerns regarding the design of a collection program for these wastes. The results were used to estimate the quantities of HHW disposed of annually, and the quantities and profiles of wastes that could be received at a typical depot collection program in the City. Different operating parameters for both depot collection programs and household collection programs were compared. Public willingness to participate in different collection programs was evaluated, and the collection needs of different residential areas was assessed. Significant differences in waste generation and storage practices were indicated to exist between types of dwellings, and between areas of differing economic status. Examples include the result that as many or more apartments residents generated HHW's as did detached dwelling residents, but in significantly smaller quantities, especially for liquid HHW's. Apartment residents also tended to store less HHW than detached dwelling residents. Between upper income and lower income detached dwelling areas, the composition of HHW's was significantly different, with automotive products more prevalent in the lower income area and paints more prevalent in the upper income area. Other differences between dwelling type and income level differentiated areas were also noted. Further observations included the difference in the willingness of respondents to participate in various types of collection programs, and the disposal practices for different waste types. Also, concerns of the respondents with regard to the issue of HHW in general and to each type of collection program in specific were solicited and discussed. Recommendations were made to assist in the design of an effective HHW collection program for the City of Vancouver.

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