Tackling the toxic waste

TUSTIN — Things got busy early at the Osceola County Road Commission garage near Tustin Saturday as dozens of cars and trucks pulled into the facility to off-load boxes, buckets and bundles of household hazardous waste during the annual disposal event.

The county-wide effort was part of a three-county push to give residents an opportunity to clear hazardous waste products - such as weed killer, paint stripper, and, bug sprays - out of closets, cupboards, basements and sheds.

The Household Hazardous Waste clean-up and collection was the ninth annual ‘happening’ of its sort, and participation has grown over the years as more and more people around Mecosta, Osceola and Lake counties realize not on that they can get rid of hazardous household products in this organized fashion, but also learn the importance of doing so responsibly.

While the exact measure of items taken in during the weekend collection is not yet logged, it is estimated that tons — TONS — of dangerous waste were effectively and efficiently removed from ‘the system’ in ways that eliminated the threat of having these materials create a danger to the local environment.

Over the past nine years, (exclusive of this year’s effort), residents of Lake, Mecosta and Osceola counties have discarded close to a quarter-million pounds of household hazardous waste during the annual disposal day sponsored by the Mecosta and Lake-Osceola Conservation Districts.

Last year alone, the three-county effort to get hazardous materials out of circulation resulted in the collection of 34,479 pounds of dangerous waste that could have just as easily been discarded haphazardly and ended up in woods and water ways.

With perfect weather aiding the effort, workers at local sites were pleased to see the participation this year as well.