Clark County collecting toxic household items

Household hazardous waste day once drew thousands.

Clark County residents will get their annual opportunity this weekend to unload their toxic household items for free.

The Clark County Solid Waste District will hold its yearly Household Hazardous Waste Collection from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the county recycling center, 1602 W. Main St., in Springfield.

This will be the third year the waste district has held the event at the recycling center, a possible sign that residents are no longer stockpiling as many nasty items.

“We felt we could handle it here,” Steve Schlather, program coordinator for the solid waste district, said Thursday.

The event used to be held at the Clark County Fairgrounds, and once attracted so many people, they were asked to stagger their arrival times in alphabetical order by last name.

The county’s first two events alone, in 1991 and 1996, drew nearly 3,000 people and collected a combined total of 259,000 pounds of poisonous junk in the form of batteries, solvents, auto fluids and other products.

“We’d have 500, 600 people come out,” Schlather said. “A lot of people cleaned out their basements.”

In 2012, the solid waste district had 255 cars come by the recycling center, he said, to drop off 23,388 pounds of hazardous waste.

The event in 2011 yielded 17,007 pounds of waste from 146 people, he said.

Clark County hires a contractor to take the items, Schlather said, and last year’s event cost the county $20,355 to dispose of the material.

The Ohio EPA encourages the county to give residents an opportunity once in a while to get rid of household hazardous waste, Schlather said.

Clark County’s collection day became an annual event in 2005.

Once again, latex paint, fluorescent bulbs and tires won’t be accepted, Schlather said, because the recycling center accepts those items for a fee from 9 a.m. to noon and from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursdays, and on the first Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon.

Also, while it’s perfectly legal to throw cans and bottles of insect spray, for example, in the trash, Schlather urged people to bring them to the waste collection.

“We’ll make sure it gets disposed of in a more responsible fashion,” he said.

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