The Stearns County Environmental Services will host a free collection of hazardous waste on Wednesday, Oct. 2, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the south parking lot at St. Louis Catholic Church.
Household hazardous waste items being accepted include: paints, cleaners, poisons, roofing tar, fuels, automotive products, sealants, pesticides, adhesives, aerosols, solvents, mothballs, mercury, fluorescent bulbs and rechargeable batteries.
How do you know what items are considered hazardous? Look for signal words on labels such as caution, warning, danger, poison, flammable, combustible or corrosive.
Household hazardous wastes are collected in much the same way as business hazardous waste. The wastes are sorted, packaged into barrels or drums and shipped by hazardous waste transporters to licensed hazardous waste disposal sites.
The first step in proper disposal of household hazardous waste takes place at the county collection sites. From Paynesville, the waste items collected will be taken to St. Cloud where a trained staff will sort the waste by broad chemical class and place it into separate drums for safe transportation. All drums are labeled to indicate that they contain hazardous wastes and the type of chemical contained in the drum.
Licensed hazardous waste transportation companies transport the waste to a variety of disposal facilities across the U.S., depending on the type of waste. In choosing the disposal site, household hazardous waste programs choose the most environmentally-protective disposal method for the wastes.
Several household hazardous wastes can be recycled or reused. Some programs recycle antifreeze, motor oil, fluorescent lamps, motor vehicle batteries, items containing mercury and latex paint.
Not all the materials are turned back into the original product. For example, in Minnesota, most used motor oil is burned for fuel in asphalt plants. Latex paint is ãrecycledä into a caulk-like material, used in construction. However, most household hazardous wastes in Minnesota are burned in hazardous waste incinerators. These facilities are located in other states and have permits from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to incinerate hazardous wastes. Wastes that are incinerated include: weed killers, insect killers, wood preservatives, solvent-containing adhesives and cleaners, acids, bases, arsenic and oil-based paint containing PCBs.
Liquid flammable wastes÷gasoline, stains, paint thinners, turpentine, mineral spirits, flammable aerosol products and uncontaminated oil-based paints÷are shipped to out-of-state facilities. The wastes are reblended and sold to cement kilns for use as an alternative fuel.
Disposal of household hazardous wastes is expensive, according to Doug Lien, Tri-County Solid Waste. The list of costs reflects only the estimated disposal costs, not the labor, transportation, equipment, supplies, publicity and other costs associated with collecting household hazardous waste:
Latex paint which can be recycled costs about $3.50 per gallon to dispose of. Aerosol products which are fuel blended cost about $1.35 per can; paint thinners, $1.75 per gallon and oil-based paint, $6 per gallon. Items that are incinerated such as oil-based paints cost $11 per gallon to dispose of, home pesticides and drain cleaners, $28 per gallon.
Paynesville held their first hazardous waste collection on May 4 of this year. There were 175 people participating, representing about 200 households. Volume wise, this was the largest collection held by the Solid Waste Commission. Collected were: 14-55 gallon drums of liquid; 45 cubic yards of empty paint cans and 800 fluorscent light bulbs. City records show very little of the liquid was usable. It cost about $200 per drum to dispose of. What was usable, was taken to Annandale where it was prepared for shipping.
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