FULTON – Oswego County residents have the ability to dispose of their household hazardous waste material for free until September at the Bristol Hill Landfill.
What some people do not know is that there are certain things that cannot simply be put in with the rest of the garbage. That includes things like antifreeze, nail polish remover, drain cleaners and wood stains to name a few.
Household hazardous waste such as these are “leftover household products that can catch fire, react, or explode under certain circumstances, or that are corrosive or toxic as household hazardous waste,” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Some counties hold a single day-long event for residents to bring in their household hazardous waste. However, Oswego County does it twice a week from May until September.
The operations manager at Bristol Hill, Carl Schmidt, said they do this to minimize the buildup of people coming in at one time. He said they typically get around 800 people per year throughout the summer months.
“It seems people use the event mostly in the summer when they’re trying to clean out their garage,” Schmidt said. “They’ll bring a bunch of stuff in in May then we take it until September.”
Schmidt said they can intervene at the transfer station if they happen to see household hazardous waste and if they know where it came from, they can discuss proper disposal with the resident.
However, it is impossible to catch everything. They run the program to segregate these types of waste to keep the hazardous ones out of the landfill.
If an Oswego County resident should clean out his or her garage or the cleaning supplies under the sink, there are a few instructions they need to follow when they bring their household hazardous waste to Bristol Hill. These include, but are not limited to, leaving children and pets at home, place the items in a sturdy cardboard box, and stay in your vehicle.
One item that is commonly thought to be household hazardous waste is latex-based paint. The Oswego County Department of Solid Waste asks residents to dry out these paints either by adding cat litter, waste paint hardener, or Speedi Dry. Once it is dried out, they can be placed with the regular garbage.
To avoid household hazardous waste products in the first place, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation suggests tips to reduce household hazardous waste use. The DEC provides a list of safe alternatives to these products when cleaning, like leaving an open container of baking soda out instead of an air freshener can.
“Many products have less toxic or non-toxic alternatives. If you must purchase a hazardous product, buy only the amount you can use up,” according to the DEC.
Schmidt said there are two workers who run the event every Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
For more information on how to bring your household hazardous waste to the facility and a full list of items, visit the Oswego County Department of Solid Waste.