45k pounds of hazardous substances kept out of waste stream
By Christian W. Peck
Public Information Officer
Niagara County Public Information Office
More than 20 tons of toxic waste and 40 tons of electronic waste were turned into the Niagara County Refuse District at a Sunday morning collection in North Tonawanda, the chairwoman of the Niagara County Refuse District's oversight committee announced Monday night.
Legislator Kathryn L. Lance, who chairs the refuse disposal district committee, reviewed preliminary numbers from the acting director of the refuse district, Dawn M. Timm, that indicated 45,000 pounds of household hazardous wastes and 80,000 pounds of electronic waste were loaded onto tractor trailers, the latter set to be recycled. This alleviated difficulties experienced by homeowners since state laws essentially shut down curbside collection of electronic waste earlier this year and removed potentially harmful old chemical substances from area homes.
In total, 485 participants in the four-hour event, organized by Lance and county legislators Randy R. Bradt (North Tonawanda) and Rich Andres (North Tonawanda), along with State Sen. Robert G. Ortt and North Tonawanda Mayor Arthur G. Pappas, turned in so-called household hazardous wastes - which included various solvents and other chemicals deemed harmful - while 380 other participants turned in old televisions and office equipment in the electronic waste collection.
The event dovetails with a legislative resolution recently introduced by Lance that calls upon the state to "make statutory changes to the Electronic Equipment Reuse and Recycling Act to relieve municipalities of the burden to manage large volumes of electronics at their own expense."
Timm noted the amount of electronic waste turned in Sunday had been double her projections.
"Recycling electronic waste and taking hazardous chemicals, many times old and unstable, out of circulation is important and a good goal for government," Lance said. "However, the current state law makes this difficult on homeowners, and difficult for us. We organized this event today to help take off some of that pressure, but the state really needs to look at revamping these laws."
Lance also offered praise for refuse district personnel who planned the event with her.
"Dawn Timm and her team managed to accomplish two goals today: They helped our residents clear out 62 tons of waste, and they protected the environment's health by keeping these materials out of the waste stream," Lance said. "We are pleased with these results, and we will continue to provide solutions like this for our residents."