By Jessica Isaacs
Ready to dispose of some of the harsh chemical products you have at home, but not sure where to start? Let county employees help you clean out your cabinets this weekend by bringing those items to the Watauga County Sanitation and Recycling Department’s annual Spring Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day.
Stop by 336 Landfill Road between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 16, for drive-through disposal services of general household items that contain hazardous chemicals.
Watauga Recycling Coordinator Heather Bowen said you don’t even have to get out of the car to get rid of these products.
“We will have two lines open and we will be directing traffic for people that have household waste they’re bringing out. Nobody has to get out of their vehicle,” Bowen said. “We will have staff on-site to handle the hazardous waste so that it will be disposed of in the proper area. We try to make it as simple as possible when dealing with hazardous chemicals.”
Residents are encouraged to bring hazardous waste materials such as:
- Paints, stains and varnishes
- Used oil
- Mercury items like thermostats or thermometers
- Light bulbs
The hazardous waste collection days are hosted biannually in the county — once in the spring and once in the fall. Bowen said last year’s spring collection event brought in more than 46,000 pounds of chemical hazardous waste.
“We definitely don’t want those to go into the landfill or down household sink drains because they’re very hazardous to our health and to the soil,” Bowen said. “It can kill aquatic life if it gets into the waterways and can kill living organisms like trees or animals if it seeps into the soil. It’s a very dangerous thing that we would prefer to avoid.”
Not everyone can make it out to the one-day collection event to get ride of those dangerous products, however. That’s why Bowen said she’s glad to announce that a more permanent solution is on the way.
On June 1, the county will begin construction on a permanent site that will house hazardous chemical waste and will be open to the public at least one to two days each month between March and November each year.
The county received more than $50,000 in grant funding from the state to make that project possible, Bowen said.
Additionally, the annual Community Pride Week is going on now in conjunction with the hazardous waste collection effort.
County taxpayers are allotted 2,000 pounds of free waste disposal each year, and pay an additional $2.45 per 100 pounds after they exceed that allotment. Community Pride Week gives them a chance to bring out their heavy-duty items for free.
“This is for residents to bring out large items that maybe they’ve been storing up waiting for a way to dispose of them, like furniture, brush, concrete, cement — large items like that,” Bowen said. “We let them bring that out this week for no charge.”
Bowen said Community Pride Week was put in place to allow residents to clean up areas on their own property and work toward the beautification of the entire county.
Call 828-264-5305 for more information about hazardous waste disposal or Community Pride Week.