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Hazardous waste dropoffs reduce environmental impact

The following column was submitted by Erie County Legislator John Mills.

Erie County hosts hazardous waste drop-off days, twice per year, to collect various materials that have been stored at homes. Keeping such items around the home or throwing them away in the trash can be very dangerous.

The drop-off days are an easy and convenient way to properly dispose of materials. These events have historically been very well attended and workers are extremely efficient, to ensure safe collection of the items, while limiting the wait time.

This year’s county hazardous waste drop-off days will be held at:

– Erie Community College north campus on May 18 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Enter from Wehrle Drive.

– Erie Community College south campus on June 15 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Enter from Big Tree Road. When coming from Route 20A, use Abbott Road.

The following items will be accepted:

– Pesticides and fertilizers for the pool and household.

– Chemicals and cleaners. Individuals are limited to 2 gallons or 20 pounds.

– Oil-based paints and spray cans. There is a 10-gallon limit.

– Oil, gasoline, kerosene and antifreeze. Individuals are limited to 10 gallons.

– Paint thinner, stripper and solvents. There is a 2-gallon limit, on these items.

– Lead acid and rechargeable batteries.

– Mercury thermometers, thermostats and metal.

– Full or empty propane tanks and cylinders.

Items that are not accepted include tires, latex paint, fluorescent light bulbs, computers, appliances and commercial and industrial waste.

According to the county’s environment and planning department, the method of final disposition of the hazardous products depends on the material. Some of the materials, such as lead acid batteries, which are 100 percent recycled into new batteries, can be recycled.

Some of the rechargeable batteries, oil and antifreeze are also recycled.

Propane tanks are evacuated and the metal is recycled. Flammable materials, such as gasoline and paint, are often fuel blended, for use in the manufacturing of cement.

Materials that cannot be reused are incinerated.

The hazardous waste drop-off days are very valuable to our community and greatly decrease the impact these materials would have on our environment, if they were tossed directly into the trash, landfill or waterways.

If you have any of these materials in your home, please plan to drop them off at one of the two events, where they will be recycled or reused, where possible, and disposed of properly.

If you have any questions about the hazardous waste drop-offs, or any county matters, please contact me at 858-8850 or email john.mills@erie.gov.
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