Outdoor Living: Household Hazardous Waste Collection event Saturday, March 17

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117329964431945.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of http://jced.jocogov.org‘, ‘March 17 is a great opportunity to rid your home of unwanted household hazardous waste products such as: solvents, cleaning products, oil-based paint, items containing mercury, antifreeze, used motor oil, lead acid batteries, lawn chemicals, insecticides, old medicine, aerosol products, hobby chemicals and fluorescent bulbs, etc.‘);

The Ogle County Solid Waste Management Department, the Lee County Office of Solid Waste Management, and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency are sponsoring a Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, March 17, at the Dixon High School, Lincoln Statue Drive in Dixon.

This special collection day is a great opportunity to rid your home, at no charge, of unwanted household hazardous waste products such as: solvents, cleaning products, oil-based paint, items containing mercury, antifreeze, used motor oil, lead acid batter ies, lawn chemicals, insecticides, old medicine, aerosol products, hobby chemicals and fluorescent bulbs, etc. Business and agricultural waste will not be accepted.

At every collection, paint is the most common material brought in by Illinois citizens. Paints containing lead, cadmium or mercury are highly toxic and must be taken to a collection. Since oil based paints are ignitable and their fumes are potentially harmful, they are accepted at the collection. Today’s latex (water-based) paints have a very low level of toxicity. Disposing of them at a household hazardous waste collection is very expensive. Therefore, the Illinois EPA discourages people from bringing latex paint to a collection event. They offer other suggestions to dispose of leftover latex paint.

Keep painting

This may sound simple, and it is. What better place to put that last pint or so of paint but right up there on the wall where it blends in perfectly with all the other paint you just put up there. Sure, it’s a little extra work—and right when you thought you were done for the day—but you’ll be rid of that extra paint for good. Simply let the can dry, and then recycle or dispose of it.

Paint something else

It doesn’t even have to need the paint. Use an old piece of cardboard, some scrap lumber, or the inside of your garage. Just about anywhere would probably work to use up that last bit of paint. Again, let the can dry and recycle or dispose of it.

Use absorbent like kitty litter!

Kitty litter, sawdust, shredded paper or just about anything else that will absorb moisture and let the paint dry out should work here. Depending on how full the can is, you can just add the absorbent to the can and mix it up. When the liquids are absorbed, let it dry completely, and then dispose of it with your regular garbage pick up.

Give it to someone

Look around, and you may find somebody who needs to paint a small area. Some schools or local theaters will take some small amounts of paint for scenery.

Store it for later

Everyone has good intentions to use half-filled paint cans for “touch ups” that never come. Also, many people have saved paint that becomes unusable over time before it’s called into action. If you do save your paint for later, follow some easy tips to make the paint last longer. Just cover the opening with plastic wrap, and make sure the lid fits securely so the paint doesn’t leak. Then turn the paint can upside down! This creates a tight seal, and keeps the paint fresh to use again.

The collection event scheduled for Saturday, March17, at the Dixon High School in Dixon is a rare opportunity to clean out your garage or shop of unwanted chemicals such as pesticides, cleaning products, automotive fluids and other items that may pose a threat to our landfills, homes or environment if disposed of incorrectly. The hazardous wastes collected are recycled or disposed of in a number of environmentally safe ways by contractors who specialize in this activity.

If you would like more information regarding the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event or about alternative ways to dispose of paint, call the Ogle County Solid Waste Management Department at (815) 732-4020 or the Lee County Office of Solid Waste Management at (815) 857-4141.

From the March 7-13, 2007, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!