Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day

— Written By Susan Condlin and last updated by

It’s amazing just how much “stuff” we can accumulate around the house. Many of these items can be donated, sold at a garage sale or simply tossed in recycling or trash containers. It’s not so easy to dispose of items such as paints, solvents, pesticides, pool chemicals, automotive fluids, etc. These are considered household hazardous waste.

A hazardous waste is any unwanted chemical material from your home or farm that can harm you, other people, or the environment, when improperly stored or discarded.

Pesticides, household cleaners, paints and automotive products can be harmless if used as intended, however, if disposed of improperly, they can be harmful to our health and safety, as well as to our environment. The average house has an estimated 3 to 10 gallons of hazardous products. Collectively, these materials can contaminate our drinking water; cause injuries, poisonings and air pollution. If you have pesticides, used motor oil, old paint, household cleaners, swimming pool chemicals, furniture strippers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and wood preservatives you no longer use then you have your fair share of household hazardous waste.

If you are storing any of these products and are waiting for just the right time to get rid of them, that time will be Saturday, October 24 when Lee County will hold it’s annual Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day. This FREE event, sponsored by Lee County Solid Waste Division, NCDA Pesticide Assistance Program and North Carolina Cooperative Extension, will take place at the Dennis Wicker Civic Center from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and will be for ALL Lee County households and farms.

In preparation for the event, walk through your garage, storage buildings, look in your kitchen cabinets, pantry and cleaning closets and collect all the hazardous waste you no longer want or use. Place these items in a cardboard box, put the box in your trunk and bring it to the collection site at the Civic Center.

As you approach the Civic Center be aware of the traffic pattern into and through the collection area. Vehicles will enter the back of the Civic Center just off Kelly Drive and follow the signs around where trained personnel will remove your hazardous material. You don’t even have to get out of the car! Once items are removed from your car, you exit the parking lot onto Nash Street. It’s really that simple and so convenient!

As a reminder, no waste will be accepted from businesses. Businesses can contact Lee County Solid waste to discuss their disposal options. NCDA will be on site however to collect chemicals used on the farm. For more information on this contact our Extension Center and watch for next week’s follow up Extension News article giving more details for farm operators.

For this event, items to be collected include: oil based paint, drain cleaners, paint thinners, motor oil, furniture strippers, brake fluid, kitchen cleaners, gasoline, bathroom cleaners, antifreeze, pesticides, transmission fluid, herbicides, solvents, insecticides, degreasers, batteries, CFL light bulbs, and pool chemicals. While motor oil, cooking oil, antifreeze, oil filters will also be accepted; county residents can drop these items off daily at the six convenience centers found throughout Lee County.

In 2014, 332 vehicles delivered over 32,140 pounds of paint and paint related materials, 1,144 pounds of unwanted pesticides, 254 pounds of batteries. At the end of the collection we accepted approximately 45,000 pounds of hazardous waste. A good days work and great use of taxpayers’ dollars.

Hazardous materials that are not separated and handled properly can generate air, water, and land pollution. They also pose a serious threat to the health of children, adults, animals, and the environment when poured in drains, septic tanks, and in the trash. For further information on household hazardous waste or the Lee County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day, contact Lee County Solid Waste at 919-718-4622 or North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Lee County Center at 919-775-5624.

Susan C. Condlin is County Extension Director with North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Lee County.