Katrina cleanup diverts 17 million pounds of hazardous waste from landfills

Since the collection of debris left behind by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita began in September 2005, organizations involved in the southern Louisiana cleanup say they have recovered 4.5 million containers -- or 17 million pounds -- of hazardous waste. The total includes material collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, the Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers.

According to an EPA press release, all of the hazardous waste collected has been recycled or disposed of in a way that ensures it will not pose a future risk to the environment or public health. Household hazardous materials collected include products like bleach, propane, batteries, paints, solvents, pesticides and fertilizer. These materials are collected by crews going house to house or are brought to collection centers by residents.