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Hazardous household chemical collection Saturday

March 8, 2012
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

People are encouraged to bring their old paints, electronics, fertilizers and more to the annual Household Chemical Waste Collection Day for disposal.

Lee County Solid Waste Management, in partnership with the city of Cape Coral, will sponsor the event Saturday, March 10, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the city's Public Works Everest Annex, located off Everest Parkway. The disposal is free.

"We've been doing this routinely once or twice a year for many years," Lindsey Sampson, director of Lee County Solid Waste Management, said.

"With the significant population in Cape Coral, we do one of these, in particular, during the busy season," he added. "Just to provide one day that's a little more convenient - closer to home, so to speak."

The county operates a facility in Fort Myers that is open to the public five days a week and the first Saturday of each month for the same purpose.

"We target the chemical-type materials in automobile fluids that we would rather not see in the garbage," Sampson said.

Fact Box

To go

What: Annual Household Chemical Waste Collection Day

When: Today, March 10, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: Public Works Everest Annex, located off Everest Parkway

Collection day safety tips

Wear protective gloves when handling household hazardous waste.

Use cardboard boxes or other suitable containers to prevent spills.

Keep products in their original containers. Do not mix products.

Label materials that are not in their original containers.

Label unknown items to the extent possible. If unaware of specific product name, provide product category like pesticide or cleaning product.

Label outside container with the contents and date.

Make sure lids are tightly sealed.

If a container is leaking, it should be placed in a larger plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. A non-flammable absorbent, such as clay-based cat litter, should be packed around the product to absorb any possible leaks.

Place products upright in cardboard box and secure so they do not tip over in transport.

Source: Lee County Solid Waste Management

Other things that can be dropped off include fertilizers, pool and harsh cleaning chemicals, cleaning compounds, car and household batteries, bug sprays, aerosols, gasoline, oil-based paints, paint thinners and lacquers.

"It's better to operate the facility without those materials in the regular waste stream," he said, adding that some items combust when mixed.

Electronics also will be accepted, including computers, monitors, printers, televisions and cell phones, as well as florescent light bulbs and tubes.

"Those are the main things that we're looking for," Sampson said.

As people arrive Saturday, they will be given a pamphlet or literature.

"We encourage everybody to stay in their car," he said. "We unload the materials for them."

In February 2011, about 584 vehicles stopped by the Household Chemical Waste Collection Day, dropping off a total of 36,794 pounds of items.

Last year, there were 812 pounds of batteries, 459 pounds of florescent bulbs and 8,720 pounds of electronics collected. Latex paint was the most commonly dropped off item, totaling 13,265 pounds, according to records.

Of the total amount disposed of in 2011, 96 percent was recycled.

"We encourage our residents to take advantage of this opportunity to dispose of common household chemicals that may pose health risks to people and animals," Connie Barron, the spokeswoman for the city, said.

"We plan at least one of these local collections each year so that Cape Coral residents can drop off items that are not permitted to be discarded in trash containers for regular pickup," she added.



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