Household Hazardous Waste collection set for Saturday

HERSEY — Most people think hazardous waste is chemicals discarded by businesses and industries.

However, there are many hazardous wastes located right in homes. Household products, often containing the same chemicals used in industry, become waste when they are no longer used.

The potential dangers to people, pets and the environment are why the Lake-Osceola Conservation District holds its annual household hazardous waste collection in cooperation with the Michigan Stewardship Clean Sweep program.

“We want to provide a provide a safe method of disposing of these chemicals,” said Charmaine Lucas, conservation district director. “If hazardous waste is disposed of incorrectly, then that has the potential to contaminate of our surface and ground waters. It’s a public health hazard to humans, plants, pets and wildlife.

“It’s definitely a safety and health concern.”

This year’s collection is set for 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 8, at the Osceola County Road Commission (south facility), located at 4737 Makwa Drive (U.S. 10), between Hersey and Evart. Participation is free, but donations are appreciated.

Started in 2003, the collection has grown over the last 13 years, Lucas said, as the conservation district has spearheaded the program — not only collecting the items, but informing and educating the public about the dangers of household hazardous waste.

“We’re seeing much more participation among county residents,” she said. “That is the way things always go. New things start out slow and as the word gets out, they grow. It’s grown by leaps and bounds over the last 13 years in the number of residents who participate.

“People are so grateful they have a place where they can dispose of this waste properly. We hope the program continues to grow.”

Items that become hazardous waste include automotive products and fuels such as antifreeze or used motor oil, paint products such as deck stain or lead-based paint, yard and garden products such as insecticides and pesticides, cleaning solvents or silver or metal polish, as well as fluorescent light bulbs, lighter fluids or nail polish and nail polish remover.

These items, as well as others, are dangerous because not everyone follows the directions to use the product, properly stores the products or disposes of the products.

“Some products may cause severe injury or even death to children or pets who accidentally swallow them,” Lucas said.

To reduce the risk from these items, Lucas said people should buy only the amount of a product they will use. She also suggests consumers look for the signal words — like danger, warning and caution — to see if the products contain hazardous chemicals.

Lucas said residents can learn more about the products they use by visiting the local library, contacting environmental agencies and organizations or using the internet to learn more about a particular product.

This service is funded by businesses, organizations, foundations and governmental entities.

For a full list of items accepted at the collection, visit osceolalakecd.org/hazardous-waste-collection/.

For more information, contact the Osceola-Lake Conservation District at (231) 832-2950 Ext. 5.

What makes a waste hazardous?

Hazardous materials may occur in gaseous, liquid or solid form. The degree of hazard that they pose depends on the chemical characteristics of each substance.

Some of these characteristics are:

  • How easily it catches fire (gasoline);
  • How acidic or caustic it is (oven cleaner);
  • How toxic the long and short-term exposure is to humans and animals (pesticides, antifreeze);
  • How easily it leaches from a product (waste motor oil, paint strippers);
  • How explosive or reactive it is (aerosol cans); and
  • How much oxygen or other gas it adds to a fire (hydrogen peroxide).