Household Hazardous Waste Day
As a member of my town’s Solid Waste Commission, I recently volunteered at Household Hazardous Waste Day. This is a very important chance to bring in material that should not be thrown in the trash, such as oil based paint, old fuel, insect killers, expired lawn treatments, etc. I was very impressed at the level of participation. The volume of material that arrived – cars were lined up for more than 2 miles – was simply amazing. My job was to unload the material from the resident’s cars, and after a full morning of unloading trunks, my back was pretty sore!
A common item that many people have to dispose of is old paint. If handled properly, latex paint is not actually a hazardous waste (oil paints and thinners still are). I took this picture of latex paint cans done right – opened and left to air dry, and if there is a significant amount of paint to absorb, kitty litter added as an absorbent. This renders the material non-hazardous and it can be disposed of in the normal trash. So actually, this person did not need to bring these cans of latex paint in to this event (although we did accept them and gave the resident
an attaboy for handling the material correctly). It should also be noted that the American Coatings Association has set up a great program called PaintCare, which will soon begin accepting used paint for recycling in some states. Also, it is perfectly reasonable to mix the unused paints together, stir them up, see what color you get (usually some kind of beige in my experience), and use the resulting mix in an unobtrusive area. In fact, professional painters do this all the time even with paints of the same color (they call it ‘boxing’ paint), to eliminate variation between cans.
Does your town have a HHW Day coming up? A quick tip: don’t put anything in the trunk that you don’t want gone, because with a long line, unloaders are in a hurry. Everything in your trunk is going to get unloaded, whether you want it to or not! And if you bring in old fuel, be sure to specify if you want your gas can back. As always, if you need to recycle asphalt shingles (non-hazardous by the way), find a recycler at recycling.gaf.com!