It’s time for some Spring Cleaning! If you’re like me, you’re wondering, how to I pile up so much stuff? We can’t help to solve that mystery for you, but we can help give you some tips on how to dispose of it properly.

Whether your clutter winds up in your garage, basement, closet or all of the above, it is important that it be disposed of, and disposed of in a way that is not harmful to human health or the environment.

The HCIA is hosting Spring 2019 Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days in Bayonne, North Bergen, Jersey City and Kearny for Hudson County residents only. Accepted items include:

  • Thermostats
  • Smoke Detectors
  • Tires
  • Cleaners & Corrosives
  • Pool & Photographic Chemicals
  • Oil Based Paints & Varnishes
  • Rechargeable & Car Batteries
  • Propane Tanks (from BBQ Grills Only)
  • Solvents & Thinners
  • Pesticides & Herbicides
  • Formaldehyde
  • Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
  • Used Motor Oil
  • Old Gasoline
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Antifreeze

These items pose a tremendous hazard if left around your home, especially to children. Kids love to explore new things which could include harmful household hazardous waste in the home.

If these items were not disposed of properly, they could pose a threat to both the environment as well as to humans and animals. Certain types of liquid-based household hazardous waste disposed of down a drain or flushed down a toilet can not only damage plumbing systems but could also cause physical injury to sanitation workers. These chemicals should NEVER be disposed of in a storm sewer which would not only harm marine life, but could also pose a major fire hazard.

Smoke Detectors, Thermostats & Thermometers
Residential smoke detectors should be in every person’s home. These devices have a 10-year life span which is indicated by a constant chirping sound. When this occurs, in addition to purchasing a replacement device, the old smoke detector should be properly disposed of. Most residential smoke detectors contain a small amount of radioactive metal. Americium 241 is most commonly used in smoke detectors and has a half-life of 458 years. When properly disposed of, Americium 241 is contained and the other materials which the smoke detector is composed of including plastic, gold and metals are recycled.

Many older thermostats and thermometers contain mercury, which is toxic. Mercury thermometers have silver, metallic grey or black filling in their bulbs; any other color filling indicates that it is a non-mercury thermometer and can be thrown in the trash at the end of its life. Mercury thermostats have dials or levers that you need to manually adjust. If you have mercury thermometers or thermostats - they should be brought to a HHW Collection Day.

Shining a Light on Fluorescent Bulbs
Fluorescent light tubes and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) use 75% less energy that incandescent tubes and bulbs. In addition, CFLs can last up to ten times longer than incandescent bulbs. Since these options use less electricity, there is a considerable reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. Fluorescent lighting reduces dependence on coal-based power plants which reduces carbon emissions.

While they have tremendous environmental benefits, these bulbs contain small amounts of mercury (5 milligrams or less). As a result, they should not be thrown out with regular household trash but should be disposed of properly. A main hazard of mercury exposure is its tendency to buildup in the atmosphere. This buildup eventually enters precipitation including rain and snow, polluting the land and surface water. In order to protect the bulbs when bringing them to HHW Collection Day, please place them in a plastic bag or some type of container as these fluorescents could be dangerous if they were to break.

Just Say Tanks
The HCIA accepts smaller propane tanks (such as those used for barbecue grills), at Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days. Other types of tanks including those which contain gases such as helium, freon, oxygen and acetylene are not accepted at this time. Residents are urged not to dispose of any of these tanks in their regular garbage or by any other means. For oxygen tanks, please contact the manufacturer listed on the tank for recycling instructions. For all other types of tanks, please contact your local department of public works for guidance on how to properly dispose of these items.

Don’t Forget About the Electronics
Old computer equipment including laptops, computer towers, keyboards, mice (computer-not the cheese eating ones), tablets and cell phones are all accepted at HHW Collection Days. These devices contain a treasure-trove of personal information including passwords, banking information, photos and documents. When brought to HHW Collection, residents can rest-assured that these devices do not end up in the wrong hands. For example, computer hard drives are removed and shredded prior to the remainder of the device being sent out for dismantling and recycling. Other electronics such as televisions and printers are not accepted at these Collection Days. Please contact your local municipality for guidance on proper disposal.

Good luck with your Spring Cleaning! When you properly dispose of these hazardous items, you not only protect yourself and your home, but you are also protecting the environment!

   

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