Toxic waste, begone!

Sullivan County will collect household hazardous waste

By ANNEMARIE SCHUETZ
Posted 10/19/21

MONTICELLO, NY — Here’s a 550-pound question: How do you safely get rid of a five-gallon bucket of mercury in Sullivan County?

Answer: You call recycling coordinator Bill Cutler and …

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Toxic waste, begone!

Sullivan County will collect household hazardous waste

Posted

MONTICELLO, NY — Here’s a 550-pound question: How do you safely get rid of a five-gallon bucket of mercury in Sullivan County?

Answer: You call recycling coordinator Bill Cutler and ask for help. And he lines up a forklift, a bunch of strong young people, and a company that deals with the problem.

The Sullivan County household hazardous waste collection, scheduled this year from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 24 at the county  transfer station scale house in Monticello, is meant to address the perennial question of “the toxic nasty thing in your basement,” Cutler said.

He’s joking, but not really joking. Disposing of household hazardous waste safely is important. It’s “an artifact of our modern lives,” he said. “All those materials tend to accumulate.”

Think about it. Say you decide to stain your deck. You buy cans of stain, maybe some extras because you don’t want to run out mid-project. And then you stain the deck, there are cans left over and you stash them in the basement because you might need them.

And then it turns out that you don’t need them. The seeds of a hazardous waste collection have been planted. Over time, “you could be left with something nasty,” he said.

Households can accumulate all kinds of dangerous things: automotive fluids, pesticides, weedkiller, lead-based paint, metals like mercury.

The containers can rust or otherwise break down. They can leak. Or maybe a child can get into them and think the green fluid might be tasty.

“There’s more awareness now of the potential dangers of these chemicals,” Cutler said.

Not everything is suitable for the October 24 event. Cutler lists them: No latex paint, radioactive materials, ammunition, electronics, no containers larger than five gallons. No LP or gas tanks, medical waste, tires, pharmaceuticals, or refrigeration devices.

And no explosives. Safety for the staff and the people at the event is paramount, so if they think it necessary, the place will be evacuated, he said.

This year, because of COVID-19, no preregistration is required. Drive your carefully packaged, acceptable waste to the scale house on Landfill Drive. Bring two forms of ID to prove you live in the county.

If you have something you can’t identify, Cutler said, bring it anyway. The experts at the event can usually figure it out, and there are tests that can be done too.

“This is a popular program. Folks love it,” Cutler told the Sullivan County legislature recently. “If you have some toxic nasty stuff in your basement or garage, come see us that day.”

For more information, email recycling@sullivanny.us or call 845/807-0291.

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