Don’t throw it away

May 07, 2008 at 9:24 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Most residents don’t think twice about throwing away old electronic equipment or household cleaning products, but these materials can cause severe damage if taken out with the regular trash.

Because Coastal Waste Services, the parish’s trash collector, uses a lined landfill, the waste can’t leak into water supplies. However, in severe cases, household waste may cause a fire or explosion or give off dangerous fumes.

Sanitation workers across the nation have even been seriously burned, lost their eyesight or suffered lung damage while compacting hazardous materials.

“We see a ton of stuff, including a lot of paint,” CWS General Manager Gus Bordelon said. “We’ve had situations where paint cans have exploded near our workers when they compact it.”

To counteract that, Bordelon says that CWS gives their workers safety glasses, but for the most part, those workers are still very vulnerable.

“The public just doesn’t realize how dangerous it can be,” Bordelon said. “There have been situations where bleach in the truck has mixed with pool supplies and caused a fire.”

The materials that cause these problems are a lot more common than most people think. In fact, the chances are that most residents in St. Charles Parish have gallons of hazardous materials just lying around.

Household cleaning products, TVs, radios, solvents and aerosol cans can all cause serious damage to the environment if simply thrown away.

In an attempt to solve this problem, the parish will hold a Household Hazardous Materials Collection event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 31. The event will be held at the St. Charles Parish School Board parking lot near the Hale Boggs Bridge. The drop-off event will allow these materials to either be recycled or properly disposed of.

The following materials will be accepted at the event: oil-based paint, latex paint, solvents, tires (limit five per vehicle, one delivery only), automotive batteries, used oil, antifreeze, household cleaning products, aerosol cans, acids/bases, fluorescent tubes, tars, resins, adhesives, pesticides, herbicides, scrap metal, major appliances and used electronics.

Residents are asked not to bring explosives, ammunition, infectious waste, compressed gas cylinders, asbestos, radioactive waste, high school lab waste, commercial/governmental facility waste or unidentifiable materials.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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