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

The Summit County Resource Allocation Park accepts household hazardous waste year-round. The paint, fertilizers and other items sitting in your garage will also be accepted at the annual Hard-to-Recycle Event Saturday, Sept. 17 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
High Country Conservation Center/Courtesy photo

Dear Eartha,

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

Both items you mention are considered ousehold hazardous waste, leftover household products that can catch fire, react, explode or are considered corrosive or toxic. The waste also includes things like cleaners, oils, pesticides and other materials that contain hazardous ingredients. It’s important to ensure proper disposal of these products. Otherwise, the hazardous ingredients can pollute our waste stream and waterways, creating an unsafe environment for residents and landfill workers.



Fortunately, the Summit County Resource Allocation Park accepts household hazardous waste year-round. The paint and fertilizers sitting in your garage (and more items!) will also be accepted at the annual Hard-to-Recycle Event Saturday, Sept. 17 from 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 way. Let’s get into what’s accepted at this event, and why you shouldn’t take the easy way out by tossing these items in your trash or down the drain.

Electronics

Let’s face it, we live in a society where digital devices aren’t made to withstand time and are instead carelessly discarded — 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 ensure they are handled by companies certified to disassemble, recycle and refurbish electronics. 



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

Medical waste

Stockpiling enough medications to start a pharmacy? Don’t dump that stuff down the drain. Pharmaceuticals can pollute our water and expose us to harmful chemicals. Many wastewater treatment systems are not designed to remove those chemicals, and the Environmental Protection Agency even went as far as placing a ban on flushing or pouring medications down the drain

Instead, round up those drugs and bring them to the event, where the Summit County Sheriff’s Office will gather and properly dispose of your expired or unwanted medications. Can’t make it this weekend? Bring them to one of three year-round pharmaceutical 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. Fortunately, you can recycle many items at the recycling event or at the allocation park. Be sure to visit HighCountryConservation.org for a full list of what’s accepted. And, next time you’re picking up cleaning products, consider switching to organic or EPA Safer Choice-Certified products to avoid the harsh chemicals.

Clothing isn’t considered hazardous waste, but it sure isn’t easy to recycle! Locally, the best option is reuse. Items accepted at the event include clothing, footwear, linens and accessories like hats, handbags, gloves, belts, scarves and backpacks. Before you bring it over, check with local thrift stores to find out if they can give your items new life.

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

Allie Flynn

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



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