Weather puts damper on hazardous waste collection effort
by CHRISTY ARMSTRONG, Banner Staff Writer
Mar 03, 2013 | 509 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day
WORKERS pull hazardous waste items from the back of an SUV at the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day at the Tri-State Exhibition Center Saturday. Banner Photos, CHRISTY ARMSTRONG
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Despite the snow softly falling for much of Saturday morning and afternoon, some Bradley County residents made the journey to the county’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day at the Tri-State Exhibition Center.

Signs and volunteers directed more than a hundred motorists along a looped gravel path around the property before being signaled to stop to have hazardous waste items such as old computer monitors, pesticides and paint thinners carefully collected by volunteers and loaded up to be taken away by sanitation workers.

However, snow did affect the event’s attendance this time around.

“It’s not as busy as it has been in the past,” said Cheryl Dunson, executive vice president at Santek Waste Services, one of the event’s sponsors.

Before the event, Dunson had been concerned about there being a lot of traffic. However, this year’s participants were greeted with short wait times because there were fewer people dropping off items.

The waste collection event, funded by the Bradley County government, allowed local residents with waste considered to be too hazardous to be thrown into normal trash, or taken to the Bradley County Landfill, disposed. The hope was the event would reduce the amount of hazardous waste contaminating the environment.

Last year marked the first in recent memory the county was able to offer two waste collection events — one in the spring and one in the fall. Dunson said that may have meant county residents had less waste of which they need to dispose, providing another possible reason for the low attendance.

“Maybe having two events last year has helped decrease the volume,” Dunson said.

With only an hour and 15 minutes left in the event that lasted from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., volunteers keeping track of the number of cars dropping off hazardous wastes said they had seen 129 so far.

Even with the smaller-than-usual attendance numbers, the event still gave people a chance to help the environment by disposing of things properly, said Joanne Maskew, executive director of Keep Cleveland/Bradley Beautiful, another event sponsor.

“I still think it’s beneficial,” Maskew said.

Bradley County contracts with Santek Waste Services to run the Bradley County Landfill, but waste collected from the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day was picked up and taken away by Clean Harbors. Such waste could not be placed in the local landfill.

Volunteers and Clean Harbors workers, bundled in layers of clothing to keep warm, unloaded cars and sorted hazardous waste items to be taken away.

The Bradley County Mayor’s office, Santek Waste Services, Cleveland/Bradley Keep America Beautiful, Cleveland Utilities and the Tri-State Exhibition Center served as sponsors for the event and provided the resources and people to make it happen.

Organizers hope to have another Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day later this year — and hopefully meteorologists won’t be predicting snow, Maskew said.

“When they say snow, people back off,” Maskew said with a laugh.

Items that are recyclable, including things like used oils, anti-freeze and lead-acid batteries, can be recycled at the Bradley County Landfill anytime during the year. The landfill, along with the Urbane and Peerless Road recycling centers, also accepts recyclable items such as paper, glass bottles and aluminum cans.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day events are reserved for items which cannot be recycled or thrown away with normal trash.