Ask Eartha: What can I do with household hazardous waste?

Summit County Resource Allocation Park accepts household hazardous waste year-round. Paint, fertilizer, and other items that are in your garage will also be accepted during the annual Hard to Recycle event on Saturday, September 17 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
High Country Conservation Center / Courtesy Photo

Dear Eartha,

I have old paint and fertilizer in my garage. I think they are recyclable in Summit County, but I don’t know where. Can you help ?

The two elements you mention are considered household hazardous waste, leftover household products that may ignite, react, explode or be considered corrosive or toxic. Waste also includes products such as cleaners, oils, pesticides, and other materials that contain hazardous ingredients. It is important to ensure proper disposal of these products. Otherwise, hazardous ingredients can pollute our waste stream and waterways, creating an unsafe environment for residents and landfill workers.



Fortunately, Summit County Resource Allocation Park accepts household hazardous waste year-round. Paint and fertilizers that are in your garage (and many other items!) will also be accepted at the Annual Hard to Recycle Event Saturday, September 17, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Residents are invited to drive through the Summit Stage Bus Barn, 222 County Shops Road, Frisco, where county and High Country Conservation Center staff and volunteers will unload your car and send you on your path. . Let’s get into what’s accepted at this event and why you shouldn’t take the easy way out by throwing these items in your trash or down the drain.

Electronic

Let’s face it, we live in a society where digital devices are not made to last and are instead thrown away carelessly, which is bad for the environment. Electronic waste contains toxic substances that can end up in our air, water or soil. That’s why it’s so important to keep these items out of the landfill and make sure they’re handled by companies that are certified to disassemble, recycle, and refurbish electronics.



Keep in mind that there is a statewide ban on disposing of e-waste, so you can’t just throw it in your trash can or dumpster. Luckily, you can bring your e-waste to the recycling event or allotment park year-round, and it’s free for Summit County residents.

medical waste

Stock enough drugs to open a pharmacy? Don’t throw this stuff down the drain. Pharmaceuticals can pollute our water and expose us to harmful chemicals. Many wastewater treatment systems are not designed to remove these chemicals, and the Environmental Protection Agency has even gone so far as to prohibit flushing or pouring medication down the drain.

Instead, collect those meds and bring them to the event, where the Summit County Sheriff’s Office will meet and properly dispose of your expired or unwanted meds. Can’t come this weekend? Bring them to one of three year-round pharmacy drop-off locations in the county:

  • Breckenridge – Summit County Justice Center
  • Frisco — Prescription Alternatives
  • Dillon – Dillon Police Department

Paints, stains, fertilizers and more

It’s no mystery that dumping hazardous liquids like paints and chemicals down the drain impacts water sources, or potentially your home’s plumbing. Luckily, you can recycle many items at the Recycling Event or at the Allocation Park. Be sure to visit HighCountryConservation.org for a complete list of what is accepted. And, the next time you buy cleaning products, consider switching to organic or EPA Safer Choice Certified products to avoid harsh chemicals.

Clothes are not considered hazardous waste, but they are certainly not easy to recycle! Locally, the best option is reuse. Items accepted at the event include clothing, footwear, linens, and accessories like hats, purses, gloves, belts, scarves, and backpacks. Before you bring it in, check with local thrift stores to see if they can breathe new life into your items.

Help keep Summit County clean and take advantage of this one-stop shop by bringing your paint, pesticides and more to the recycling event on Saturday, September 17. It’s not too late to make some extra space in your home when you start unpacking your winter gear. Visit HighCountryConservation.org to find out what’s accepted at the event this weekend and what you can bring to the allocation park year-round.

Allie Flynn

Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff of the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Send your questions to info@highcountryconservation.org.

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