For the first time in its history, the HHWCD was held twice this year due to its growing popularity within the Cleveland and Bradley County community. It is sponsored through Bradley County government and Keep America Beautiful, as well as Santek Waste Services, Cleveland Utilities and the Tri-State Exhibition Center.
The collection program is tailored to relieve Bradley County homeowners of all of their household toxic wastes. The Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day program was implemented, according to KAB, because if hazardous wastes are not disposed of properly, many are extremely dangerous to the environment. With this program, household toxic waste can be removed from the home safely.
At the most recent HHWCD held earlier this fall, participants started lining up at 7:15 a.m., some 45 minutes before the event was even scheduled to get under way. But patience ruled the day and the lines ran smoothly, according to Cheryl Dunson, executive vice president of marketing at Santek.
Gates closed promptly at 1 p.m., unlike the delayed close of the spring event.
Participants were appreciative for the year’s second waste collection event of 2012.
Bradley County footed the $38,000 tab to run the program.
“It was a great event,” Dunson, who is also a KAB board member, said.
Although the majority of the items brought in were similar to those delivered in the spring, having been alerted to certain issues, people were more knowledgeable about what items they could bring to this event, Dunson explained. Wastes were properly labeled and packaged in cardboard boxes or plastic containers.
Lead-acid batteries and oil should continue to be taken to the Bradley County Landfill which accepts those waste streams throughout the year.
“... We had at least 75 percent less empty paint cans than during the spring event since they can be placed in regular trash,” Dunson noted.
Almost 500 families brought in various items to be disposed of properly, including automotive and marine products, home maintenance and improvement products, home lawn and garden products, electronics, and miscellaneous items such as pool chemicals, photo-processing chemicals, medicines/drugs, aerosols/compressed gas, mercury thermostats and thermometers, and fluorescent tubes.
“Although we had approximately half the number of households this fall compared to the spring event, participants were more diligent and conscientious on how they packaged their waste for disposal,” Dunson said. “This, in turn, helped the volunteers to quickly and safely unload vehicles.”
She added, “Our goal is to provide a safe working environment for not only residents who take advantage of the event, but for our volunteers and contractor ... I can only remember a handful of participants who just threw stuff in the back of their vehicles with no regard for the volunteers’ time or safety.”
But more education is still needed.
“We need to do a better job of educating people about microwaves,” Dunson said.
Microwaves are not considered hazardous and can be taken directly to the Bradley County Landfill to be recycled with other old appliances. Residents also are encouraged to take advantage of the year-round electronics waste recycling efforts at the Peerless Road Recycling Center. Used oil, anti-freeze and lead batteries also are currently recycled free of charge at the Bradley Landfill year-round.
The Clean Harbors crew, Rotarians and KAB volunteers joined together to work on the various aspects needed at the event.
“In fact, we had fun,” Dunson said. “We had a great time together.”
Dunson thanked Tri-State Exhibition Center and Mack Hess for allowing use of that facility; Cleveland Utilities and Ken Webb for giving KAB the opportunity to promote the event in their monthly billing cycle; the Cleveland Daily Banner for helping to advertise the event; Sheriff Jim Ruth for the inmate labor; and Tony Dietz, president of Greenstream Recycling; Dr. Sally Poston, a local veterinarian; and all the KAB volunteers who worked the event.
For more information or to receive a free pamphlet about the next event, contact Dunson at 303-7101 or Joanne Maskew, KAB executive director, at 559-3307.