Household Hazardous Waste collection deemed a success

BEAR LAKE — The flow of cars was constant throughout Saturday morning bringing in hazardous waste items for disposal to the 11th annual Household Hazardous Waste

Workers ERG Environmental Services assisted people in unloading their vehicles during Saturday's annual Household Hazardous Waste collection that took place at the Manistee County Road Commission garage.

Workers ERG Environmental Services assisted people in unloading their vehicles during Saturday’s annual Household Hazardous Waste collection that took place at the Manistee County Road Commission garage.

Collection Day.

Once again this year the annual event was held at the Manistee County Road Commission garage as the Manistee Conservation District helped to dispose of oil based paint, motor oil, electronic components, fluorescent light bulbs, cleaning solvents, pesticides, herbicides, lead-acid batteries and other volatile organic compounds so they don’t go into landfills. ERG Environmental Services were on site to properly handle the collection and disposal of those items.

Manistee Conservation District executive director Susan Spencer said the 2018 event was a success and hundreds of county residents turned out to dispose of household hazardous waste.

“The flow has been going really smoothly and we are polling the people to see how long their wait time has been and it is running for about 15 to 30 minutes, which is pretty good,” said Spencer.

Something that surprised them this year was the large number of television sets that were brought into the collection.

“A lot of people are wanting to get rid of the old television sets this year and we might fill a couple of semi trucks with them this year as there really is no place that people can drop them off anymore without having to pay for the disposal of them.”

Another area where they received a lot of items was in old medications that people want to dispose of properly.

Family Fare’s pharmacist Jenny Olsen and Manistee County Sheriff’s office Blake Fitch were manning that area and said they were kept busy all morning. They said it was a wide variety of items that were being brought in by the public.

“Some of it is medications that are non-narcotic and other ones are anything from laxatives to whatever, as people just brought in anything they wanted to get rid of as we take it all,” said Fitch.

After 11 years of running the household hazardous waste collection it never ceases to amaze organizers how much still gets brought in every year.

“We consume lots of stuff,” said Spencer. “We had to set our limit this year at 15,000 pounds because the cost of recycling this material really increased in just the last year. We don’t want to ask for an increase from the townships or the county. So I always have to white knuckle it through this period because I don’t want to cut anyone off or send anyone away after they have been waiting.”

Spencer said they are always trying to improve the program, but it wouldn’t be possible with the help of volunteers. Part of that comes from a continued interest from the public in seeing the program continue in the future.

“We got quite a few more volunteers this year and people actually called and offered to help,” said Spencer. “We are very lucky and so pleased with the support. We are also grateful to the road commission and all that (road commission manager) Mark Sohlden does to make this event a success and it is the perfect location for it.”

Over the course of the next few weeks conservation district officials will be evaluating the totals and determining how much was taken in during the 2018 collection.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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