Opportunity abounds Saturday for Cleveland and Bradley County residents to rediscover the autumn season, but for those wanting to spend a few hours cleaning up and clearing out, the biannual Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day will offer a five-hour window.
From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., those wanting to rid their storage sheds, basements, garages and utility rooms of out-dated or unneeded materials that qualify as hazardous can transport them to the Tri-State Exhibition Center where volunteers will unload their discards for safe disposal.
Organizers are hoping for better weather than Mother Nature delivered last time around when a late-April cold snap not only brought red noses, but snow flurries as well. From the looks of area weather maps, Saturday could be another cool day — minus the snow — but it’ll be a promising opportunity for helping the environment by tossing out the old while doing it properly.
“The weather definitely had an impact on the turnout last April, so we’re encouraging everyone to embrace this opportunity to enjoy the fall weather while doing something worthwhile for the environment,” according to Cheryl Dunson, executive vice president of Marketing for Santek Waste Services which operates the Bradley County Landfill under contract with Bradley County government.
Santek is one of five HHWCD sponsors.
Other team members are Cleveland Utilities, which helps promote the event through 35,000 educational fliers that are mailed out in its monthly bills; Cleveland/Bradley Keep America Beautiful, which provides on-site volunteers for the collection day; Tri-State Exhibition Center, which provides the central location for collection; and the office of Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis which provides some $50,000 in funding from the Landfill Fund to make the HHWCD event possible.
In an earlier interview with the Cleveland Daily Banner, Davis explained the importance of keeping the collection day afloat in Bradley County.
“Unfortunately, the state discontinued its funding of the HHWCD in 2010 due to the bad economy and a decrease in funds,” Davis said. “That left us with the prospect of a growing mountain of household hazardous material and the challenge of disposing of it.”
Davis is a longtime advocate for protecting the environment and pointed to Bradley County’s unique opportunity to support the local initiative.
“Bradley County is one of a handful of Tennessee counties with a Landfill Fund,” Davis explained. “This money is generated by ‘tipping fees’ [and] returned to the county by our landfill operator, Santek Environmental. This fund is tightly controlled by state law, but it can be used for environmental purposes such as Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day.”
Dunson said Saturday’s event will be more efficient, and safer for volunteers and anyone who handles the discarded materials, if area residents will follow these suggestions:
- Secure materials (called “waste streams”) in sturdy cardboard boxes, preferably lined in plastic or newspapers. “... Residents will ensure the safety of the volunteers and workers who package the materials for disposal or re-use,” Dunson said. “If waste streams are properly labeled and packaged, it also makes it easier for the volunteers who unload residents’ vehicles.”
- Don’t bring dried-up paint or paint cans; these are not considered hazardous and can be disposed of in routine household trash.
- Don’t bring microwaves and old tires. Both can be taken to the Bradley County Landfill.
- Leave products in their original containers, if possible.
- Re-label containers that have lost their labels.
- Do not mix two or more different products into one container.
Types of items accepted at the collection day include automotive and marine products, home maintenance improvement products, home lawn and garden products and electronics like CPUs, TVs, monitors, printers and keyboards.
Types of items that will not be accepted are medical and biological, explosives and ammunition, radioactive and business institutional waste.
Dunson also stressed the importance of patience. Motorists’ lines can sometimes back up, but volunteers work as hurriedly as possible to unload boxed materials. This points to the importance of transporting materials in cardboard boxes, she said. Such containers promote safety and efficiency.
“We’re grateful to Mayor Davis for agreeing to fund two events this year which give all residents ample opportunity to dispose of these difficult waste streams,” Dunson said.
She’s also appreciative to Bradley County residents who participate by bringing their discarded materials to Tri-State.
The Tri-State Exhibition Center is located in the McDonald community off Nature’s Trail, formerly known as Pleasant Grove Road.
For more information, contact Dunson at 303-7101 or Joanne Maskew, executive director of Keep America Beautiful, at 559-3307.