Rockland Rocks at Recycling: The True Story of Household Hazardous Waste Disposal

Part IV of a multi-part series

BY KERRI SCALES
Rockland Solid Waste Authority

unnamed (2)According to the EPA, there are several classifications of hazardous waste. Without getting into too much detail, today we will define the term “hazardous” as material that poses an increased risk to human health. Often times when we hear the words “hazardous waste” we think about large industrial waste generators. But the bottom line is that homeowners and smaller businesses are large contributors of many types of hazardous wastes.

Lucky for us, the Rockland County Solid Waste Management Authority has a permanent Household Hazardous Waste Facility (HHW) available for the disposal of common hazardous products. Located next to the Fire Training Center in Pomona, the facility is open Monday through Friday and alternating Saturdays and Sundays, from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., throughout the year. And did we mention that there is no charge for residents for this service at the time of disposal? There are only a few other counties in NYS that have a permanent facility. Many municipalities run two to three collection events annually, often requiring an appointment and charging a fee.

So what types of wastes are considered hazardous and accepted at the HHW Facility? Product labels often use the terms ignitable, corrosive, reactive or toxic. This includes products such as paints and paint products, vehicle fluids, thermometers and thermostats, fluorescent light bulbs, batteries, small Freon containing items, non-controlled substance medications and electronics. Items such as SHARPS, controlled substance medications (these can be brought to the Rockland County Sheriff’s office 24 hours a day), asbestos, tires, empty containers and medical waste to name a few, are on the unacceptable list. For a complete list of acceptable and unacceptable items you can visit the Authority’s website at www.rocklandrecycles.com.

unnamed (3)After collection, these items are often recycled or reused, keeping them out of our landfills and further protecting our health and safety. Cell phones are refurbished by Verizon Wireless and donated to victims of domestic violence groups; the Department of Social Services uses proceeds from printer cartridge recycling for special programs; and some computers are refurbished by the P.C. User’s Group and donated to non-profit organizations. You can also bring your electronic waste to eWorks at ARC of Rockland for recycling. We are fortunate to have this facility available in our community, but we should make an effort to only purchase hazardous products when absolutely necessary.

The next weekend collection day is Sunday, October 19. Plan on doing a fall clean-out of your home, garage or shed and bring them to the HHW Facility for disposal. In the meantime, some helpful tips for keeping you and your family safe include using non-toxic alternatives; buying only what you need; keeping products in their original packaging; storing in a cool, dry space away from open flames; and disposing properly.

This series is intended to educate the public about available services and the economic benefits that go along with it. Next week’s edition will focus on more non-traditional items, such as concrete, asphalt and glass. For more information you can visit the Rockland County Solid Waste Management Authority’s website at www.rocklandrecycles.com.