Statesville, N.C. (May 4, 2016)
Iredell County Solid Waste saw a record number of participants in its biannual Household Hazardous Waste collection event on Saturday in Mooresville. During the event, 487 households brought toxic items including gasoline, oil, paints, cleaners, pesticides, fertilizers, aerosols, mercury containing items, and items that were not labeled and required identification by the on-site chemist.
"It was great to see a record turnout for our event in Mooresville," said John Yvars, Sanitation Superintendent for the Town of Mooresville. "Our goal is to help the community by offering a safe and convenient way to dispose of toxic items that they may have stored in their garage, storage shed, under the sink, or in other places around the house."
The event, which is held through a collaborative effort between Iredell County, the Town of Mooresville and the NC State University Cooperative Extension, is vital to ensuring that these materials are disposed of safely and do not pose a risk to the environment or threaten the safety of sanitation workers who may be forced to handle or transport these materials if they are disposed of in the household trash.
"Our department has been able to properly dispose of 35,000 pounds of Household Hazardous Waste on average each year by holding these biannual events," explained David Lambert, Director of Iredell County Solid Waste. "With the preliminary numbers that I've seen so far, we surpassed our average annual collection during Saturday's four-and-a-half hour event!" The event opened to the public at 8 a.m. and concluded at 12:30 p.m.
“While it certainly was a great success to collect this amount of material, it is also very expensive to manage,” continued Lambert. “Consumers need to understand that there is a continuing cost beyond the retail price of the chemicals they purchase. The best most cost effective method of waste management is waste reduction. Waste reduction can be achieved through buying only what you need and using the entire product for its intended purpose.”
County employees used the event as an opportunity to educate some residents on proper ways to dispose of latex paint. “Much of the material collected in this event was latex paint and there are alternative methods of disposal rather than through hazardous waste collection events,” continued Lambert. “Full or almost full containers of good quality latex paint can be donated to thrift or re-use shops. Iredell County operates a Paint Swap Shop at its Solid Waste Facility on Twin Oaks Road in Statesville. Another alternative is allowing the paint to solidify naturally or by adding some material such as sand or cat litter. Once the paint is no longer flowable, it can be disposed of safely in the landfill.”
As a precaution, town firefighters were on standby during the event along with the Town of Mooresville's Hazardous Materials (Haz-mat) squad. Firefighters used the event as a training exercise and were able to test some of the materials brought in by residents.
"We urge residents to call the Iredell County Solid Waste department if they are ever unsure about the safe handling and disposal of any chemicals," said Lambert, whose department will hold a second Household Hazardous Waste event this Fall. "We welcome all Iredell County homeowner's to join us at our facility on Twin Oaks Road in Statesville on Saturday, September 24th."
For more information on Household Hazardous Waste Day, please visit Iredell County Solid Waste online at www.co.iredell.nc.us/333/Solid-Waste or call (704) 878-5430.