As the weather gets warmer many people use the opportunity to do some Spring cleaning as they get ready for Summer! From cleaning outdoor furniture to tidying up the garage, it is a busy time for everyone. For many people, questions arise on how to properly dispose of environmentally-sensitive items such as used tires and household hazardous waste. Lucky for Hudson County residents, the Hudson County Improvement Authority has scheduled collection days in the Spring and Fall at locations across the County.

The HCIA's Household Hazardous Collection Days provide residents with the opportunity to dispose of a number of hazardous household items for free, thank to sponsorship in part by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste. Proof of residency is required.

So what can you bring? We are glad that you asked. HHW Collection Days accept the following:

  • Tires
  • Cleaners
  • Corrosives
  • Pool & Photographic Chemicals
  • Oil Based Paints
  • Oil Based Varnishes
  • Rechargeable & Car Batteries
  • Propane Tanks (from barbecue grills only)
  • Solvents and Thinners
  • Formaldehyde
  • Used Motor Oil
  • Old Gasoline
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Compact Florescent Bulbs & Tubs
  • Antifreeze
  • Marine & Auto Flares
  • Computers, monitors, mice & Keyboards (Printers & TVs will NOT be accepted)
  • Cell Phones and Tablets

Looking around the typical basement or garage, most people have items such as these sitting around taking up space, as well as could pose a health risk to residents, especially children. Kids love to touch and play with a variety of things including dangerous household hazardous waste which could be harmful to them! It’s best to dispose of these materials safely.

Some may think, I can just dispose of these items myself. However, there are risks associated with this. Improper disposal of HHW can pollute the environment as well as pose a threat to the health of humans and animals. Certain types of hazardous waste poured down the drain or flushed down the toilet can cause physical injury to sanitation workers as well as damage residential plumbing systems. Other HHW products, if disposed of in the trash, contain hazardous chemicals that are poisonous, corrosive and ozone depleting. As a result, it is best to bring it to an HHW Collection Day!

Once brought to an HHW Collection, now the fun part begins! Some hazardous wastes are stabilized and solidified in order to enter a landfill. Other wastes can be treated and recycled into products such as pavement filling. Another treatment is cement-based solidification and stabilization. Cement improves physical characteristics while decreasing the toxicity and transmission of contaminants. Flammable hazardous wastes can be incinerated which generates energy from the gases released in the process.

The HCIA's Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days also provide residents with the opportunity to properly dispose of no more than four tires free of charge. If any resident cannot participate in a Tire Amnesty Event, please either store the tires indoors (garage or shed) or cover them until they can be disposed of properly. Contact your municipal DPW for disposal locations and cost.

Scrap tires pose a major health and environmental threat. New Jerseyans create 8.4 million scrap tires annually, but only 25% of these tires are properly recycled. The remainder of scrap tires generated end up in landfills or are illegally abandoned. Discarded tires can collect water which can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes which can spread West Nile Virus. Further, as tires decay, they pose a fire hazard, in addition to becoming homes to rodents and in some areas, snakes!

Environmentally, scrap tires are mostly composed of rubber which does not decompose, but floats. If tires are disposed of in a landfill, the rubber causes them to “float up” in a landfill which causes compaction problems. Tires are also composed of fiber, textile and steel cords- all materials which do not decompose.

In New Jersey, scrap tires are generally transported out-of-state for final management. Scrap tires which still have usable tread are often shipped to Mexico and other Central American countries for reuse. All other tires are shipped to facilities in states such as Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania.

The primary method of disposal for scrap tires has been incineration for their fuel value, but technology has allowed for the repurposing of scrap tires. Scrap tires can be used for construction purposes including sub-grade fill for roads, landfill projects and septic system drain fields. Tires can also be recycled for surfacing uses on basketball courts. In addition, scrap tires can be shredded and used as rubber mulch for playgrounds. Other recycled uses include flooring materials, patio decks, sidewalks, and moveable speed bumps.

So now you know, proper disposal of household hazardous waste is smart not only for the health of humans and animals, but it is also a good way to be environmentally conscious! We look forward to seeing you at one of our Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days scheduled in the Spring and Fall!

   

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