Eco Talk: What to know about Cayuga County hazardous waste collection

Wondering how to safely and responsibly dispose of household hazardous wastes? A HHW event for Cayuga County residents has been scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 26, and it will be a wonderful opportunity to properly dispose of common (and sometimes not so common) household hazardous wastes for free! The proper disposal of these types of hazardous materials protects the environment, our community and human health.

What is a HHW? According the Environmental Protection Agency (, a household hazardous waste is any leftover household product that can catch fire, react or explode under certain circumstances, or any product that is corrosive or toxic. You can tell if any of the products in your possession fall into these categories by reading the label.

The EPA website also offers some tips for safe handling of household hazardous wastes, which include reading and following label instructions for safe use and storage; keeping products in their original containers and never storing them in food or lookalike containers (children may be attracted to these with potentially disastrous results); and never mixing products together, as they may be incompatible and could start a fire or even explode. Only buy the quantities you need with these types of products.

The importance of following the directions on the label for their use, as well as storage and disposal of hazardous materials, cannot be stressed enough. Improper disposal can pollute the environment and/or be a threat to human health. Never pour products down the drain or flush them down the toilet, as they can contaminate a septic system or wastewater treatment system. If improperly disposed of in the trash, they could harm sanitation workers. In addition, children and pets can become curious if products are not stored securely.

Consider reducing the amount of products containing potentially hazardous materials that are used in your home. There are many products available today that are environmentally friendly and natural, or consider making your own products using common materials you may already have on hand, like our grandparents did.

Eco Talk: What to know about Cayuga County hazardous waste collection

By now you probably have thought about which HHWs you have stored and wonder how to participate in the Oct. 26 event. All participants must preregister before Friday, Oct. 25, on CCE’s website at After registration, you will receive a printable entrance ticket that you complete and bring with you. Also, after registering, you will be provided the location of the event.

Should you have trouble registering, not have access to a computer, or have questions, please call Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cayuga County between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at (315) 255-1183 ext. 238.

What to bring to the event? Acceptable HHWs include: pesticides (chemicals that kill things like weeds, insects and fungus); oil-based paints (these are paints that you clean with paint thinners or turpentine); mercury or "quicksilver" (often found in thermometers and barometers); driveway sealer; gasoline mixtures; pool chemicals; photograph-developing chemicals; home chemistry sets; mothballs and household cleaning products.

We are also accepting fluorescent tube lights and ballasts; gas grill (small) propane tanks; smoke detectors; and button cell batteries from hearing aids, cameras, etc.

What not to bring to the event? Please do not bring latex paint, also known as water-based paint. You can tell if it is latex, as the clean-up directions will say to clean with water. Call CCE for information on how to safely dispose of latex paint. We are no longer accepting alkaline batteries, which include AAA, AA, C, D and nine-volt batteries. These are no longer considered hazardous waste and can be disposed of in the trash. You may have noted we are emphasizing fluorescent tubes as hazardous, as they can contain small amounts of mercury. Any compact fluorescent bulbs, also known as CFLs, can be recycled at Lowe's and Home Depot, and will not be accepted on Oct. 26.

Please: No tires, ammunition, explosives, asbestos, radioactive waste, medical waste or sharps. Also, please leave the dogs and children at home; many people assist with this event, and may be reaching into the vehicle for the products!

The Cayuga County Household Hazardous Waste collect event is funded annually by the Cayuga County Legislature and the state Department of Environmental Conservation, with additional support from Nucor Steel. Cayuga Recycles manages the event through Cayuga County’s Solid Waste Management Program Office, with assistance provided by Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation District, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cayuga County provides educational outreach and registration services.

Judy Wright is the senior agriculture specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Seneca County. For more information, visit or call (315) 539-9251 ext. 109.

0 CommentsLove0Funny0Wow0Sad0Angry0

Get local news delivered to your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.