Illinois EPA Announces Fall Household Hazardous Waste Collection Schedule

Improper disposal of household hazardous wastes pollutes our local water supplies and environment. Whether it is thrown out with regular trash going to a municipal waste landfill, dumped illegally down the drain, storm sewer, or in a ditch, these actions compromise the safety of drinking water thereby threatening the health and well-being of area residents.

FALL 2014 HHW COLLECTION EVENTS

The Ecology Action Center, acting as the local solid waste agency, receives inquiries daily from concerned residents who wish to dispose of materials properly. Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection events are the primary means for safe disposal of many of these materials. While no fall HHW events are planned for our area, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) has scheduled HHW collections in Monticello on September 27 and Lincoln on October 11. More details are available at the IEPA website. These collection events are open to any Illinois resident to bring residentially-generated HHW for proper disposal—no business waste is accepted.

NEW AGREEMENT PROVIDES FOR LOCAL HHW COLLECTIONS IN 2015 AND 2017

For the first time, McLean County residents will be able to plan for local Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection events in 2015 and 2017. Under a recently approved multi-year agreement, the Town of Normal, City of Bloomington, and McLean County will provide the major portion of the funding for HHW collection events in the fall of 2015 and fall 2017. Both will be coordinated by the Ecology Action Center (EAC).

To supplement local government funding for the purposes of HHW collection, the EAC is accepting contributions to the McLean County HHW Fund, a restricted fund, to supplement local government funding for upcoming HHW collections. The costs associated with organizing a HHW collection event vary, and raising private funds is necessary to provide the amount of funding needed for future events. As the EAC is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, contributions to the HHW Fund may be considered tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law. Donations may be made online. Sponsorships and in-kind contributions by businesses or corporations may provide similar benefits. Contact Michael Brown at 309-454-3169 x.11 for more information.

In the short term the EAC urges residents to adopt three strategies for dealing with household hazardous waste.

  1. Take advantage of IEPA funded HHW collections in other communities when possible. See the fall schedule at the IEPA website.
  2. Utilize local programs to dispose of some categories of HHW including household batteries, CFLs, electronics, automotive fluids, medicines, and mercury thermostats. See locations and details of these programs on our website. Please note, many of these programs are limited to residential waste only due to funding limitations. Businesses should contact the Ecology Action Center for resources for hazardous waste disposal.
  3. Reduce generation of hazardous waste in the first place. Avoid the problem of disposal by buying safer alternatives to hazardous products, buy smaller quantities of hazardous products in order to avoid leftovers, or find others that can use leftover hazardous products through neighborhood associations, the Pantagraph’s Good Neighbor column, or through McLean County Freecycle.

More information on hazardous waste disposal and nonhazardous waste disposal are available at ecologyactioncenter.org or by calling 369-454-3169. Free resources include a notification email list for HHW updates, suggestions on alternative (non-hazardous) products, and information on the EAC’s Yard Smart program, promoting sustainable landscaping and gardening with less synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

Household Hazardous Wastes are materials and chemicals that are toxic, flammable, corrosive, reactive, or explosive. They typically cannot be safely recycled or disposed of without a special HHW center or collection event. These wastes can be a serious threat to water supplies and our local environment if they are improperly discarded with nonhazardous trash (put into a municipal solid waste landfill), dumped down the drain, or illegally dumped elsewhere.

WHAT DO I DO WITH LATEX PAINT?
Latex paint is not considered hazardous waste and can be legally and safely disposed of with regular household trash if dried to a solid form. The best means to dry it out is to pour it out onto several layers of newspaper or other disposable material, allow it to dry completely, and then roll up the newspaper and throw it away. Watch a short video demonstration HERE.

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