Residential Hazardous Waste Collection in Sunapee Aug. 22

Six towns in the Sunapee area will participate in residential hazardous waste collection this Saturday, August 22. It will be held at the Town of Sunapee highway garage on Route 11 from 9 a.m. to noon. Residents of Sunapee, Springfield, Newbury, Wilmot, Goshen and Lempster are invited to gather their hazardous household materials and bring them for safe disposal. The Upper Valley Household Hazardous Waste Committee (UVHHW), a group “housed” by the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission, lists what materials to bring and not to bring on collection day. See below.

Small businesses, “small quantity generators” can participate in the collection, however, are charged a fee, said Vickie Davis, a planner with the regional planning commission and spokesperson for the hazardous waste committee. For a fee, residents from non-participating towns can participate, too.

Hazardous waste collections encourage safe disposal of flammable and reactive chemicals, that when mixed in with household trash can create fires or injuries. Also, solvents when put into a septic system or landfill can contaminate ground and surface water and even drinking water. Contaminated water can affect public and environmental safety, and hazardous materials  such as some pesticides can damage sewage treatment plants. And oil, when spilled or entered into storm drains, can flow directly into streams, ponds and lakes harming birds, fish and wildlife.

The commission serves 27 towns in the Lake Sunapee-Upper Valley region and organizes and contracts for four hazardous waste collections each year. Member communities, such as Sunapee, Newbury and Newport, can sign up to participate in one or more of the four collections, according to Davis. Last year, Sunapee joined the collection held in Newbury that brought in waste from 137 households from 8 area towns.

There is another option for hazard waste disposal for residents that missed a collection day or live in a non-participating community. The Town of Keene holds collections through the year that are open to non-residents for a fee. Keene posts its collection dates and hours and makes available a Summer-Fall 2009 Hazardous Waste Collection calendar (PDF 16 kb).

In Sunapee on August 22, do not bring old electronic equipment and other household items routinely collected via one’s town transfer station, advised Davis.

What to bring: Rechargeable and button batteries, oven cleaners, floor and metal polishes, rug and upholstery cleaners, photo chemicals, chemistry sets, drain and toilet cleaners and spot removers. (Note: Some transfer stations collect for safe disposal rechargeable and button batteries; check locally.) Oil paint, stains, varnishes, wood preservatives, paint strippers, paint thinners, adhesives. Pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides), chemical fertilizers, weed killers, moth balls, flea control products. Fuel, gasoline, kerosene, antifreeze, engine degreaser, brake fluid, car wax, polishes, driveway sealer, roofing tar, swimming pool chemicals.

If you have an item and you are not sure if it is hazardous, read the label. Labels that read: Caution, Danger, Hazard or Warning indicate waste should be treated as hazardous waste, according to the UVHHW notice.

What not to bring: Motor oil, instead take oil to your local transfer station or commercial service station. And do not bring fluorescent bulbs. Look to your local transfer station, as “towns collect these bulbs at a lower cost than these collections; many True Value and Ace Hardware stores take up to 6 bulbs for free,” according to the commission.

As for latex paint, mix it with kitty litter to dry out and throw it away as trash. And other items not to bring: empty containers such as paint cans which can be recycled, cleaning bottles, non-household waste, radioactive wastes (e.g. smoke detectors), explosives, ammunition and medical waste.

To help prevent hazardous waste: The committee has compiled “recipes for a safer environment and cleaner home,” and “ways to have a healthy lawn and garden without the use of chemicals.” Alternative Recipes and Chemical-Free  Healthy Yard are available at the UVHHW website. Questions? Visit UVHHW or call 603-448-1680.

New Hampshire’s Household Hazardous Waste program also has information about disposal options for compact fluorescent light bulbs, smoke detectors, medical sharps and old medications. The agency library offers educational materials, videos and pamphlets as well about waste prevention how consumers can reduce the “toxicity” of their purchases.

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