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Erie County Department of Environment & Planning: Changes to household hazardous waste collection program for 2020

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Fri, Jun 12th 2020 02:00 pm

First event scheduled for June 27; new voucher system available for scheduled drop-offs

New protective measures in place to limit contact, streamline drop-off

The Erie County Department of Environment and Planning has announced the continuation of the county’s program for residents to dispose of their household hazardous waste with the first HHW collection event scheduled for Saturday, June 27. In addition to periodic collection events around the county, DEP also introduced a new option for residents seeking to dispose of household hazardous waste: a new HHW voucher program that will enable residents to schedule a drop-off up to 50 pounds of household hazardous waste at no charge to a hazardous waste facility in Tonawanda.

“By offering HHW collection programs and the new voucher program, we are protecting our residents and our environment by removing potentially harmful substances and disposing of them safely. To carry on with this essential service in 2020, both our contractor and our staff will implement COVID-19 procedures to protect all involved,” Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said. “We are limiting contact by streamlining the check-in process and will only unload from the trunk or back of the vehicle. Participants will remain in their vehicles and have minimal contact with workers throughout the process.”

Residents can register and learn more about the programs at www.erie.gov/recycling or by calling 716-858-6800.

The voucher program takes advantage of the existing Hazman facility in Erie County, which accepts household hazardous waste and other difficult-to-dispose-of materials at a “per item,” or per pound, cost. The county will provide households one voucher that will cover the cost of disposing of up to 50 pounds of household hazardous materials from a specific list. Residents are required to register online. Hazman can also help residents register over the phone at 716-998-8073.

Several new COVID-19 pandemic protective measures have been implemented for the popular HHW collection events in 2020. At each event, all employees will be prescreened to ensure none are showing symptoms, and each employee will have additional PPE to reduce potential exposure. Participants will remain in their cars at all times, a distance of 6 feet between workers will be maintained, and only one staff at a time will unload a vehicle. All materials must be placed in the trunk/back of car; no materials will be taken through the side doors or windows. Signage will be increased in lieu of verbal directions. Mobile hand washing and sanitizer stations will also be on site.

Additionally, the reservation system put in place in 2019 for these collection events resulted in shorter wait times and a better experience for participants. By registering to bring materials, residents have a direct connection with DEP and will know what time to arrive at the event as well as exactly what materials can be disposed of through the hazardous waste contractor and which can be discarded at home or through other outlets.

HHW includes household chemicals (pesticides, fertilizers, pool and household cleaners), oil-based paints and spray cans, paint thinner and solvents, fuels, and one-pound propane tanks for camping stoves.

HHW does not include electronics, pharmaceuticals, motor oil, latex paint, smoke detectors, tires, car batteries, large propane tanks, appliances or waste that was not generated by a household. Check registration information and/or website for complete list of items. Participants are required to verify their waste products were generated by households.

Additional HHW collection events will be announced within the next few weeks and are open to all Erie County residents, as is the voucher program. Residents can also sign up to be notified of upcoming events at www.erie.gov/recycling. Specific location and times of HHW events will be provided at time of registration, which will open up approximately one month prior to each event.

For more information on these events, or for details on how to properly dispose of motor oil, latex paint or other materials, visit www.erie.gov/recycling or call the Erie County Household Hazardous Waste 24-hour information line at 716-858-6800.

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