The County Solid Waste Division is sponsoring a hazardous waste “round-up” at the Solid Waste Facility on Orcas Island, on Saturday, April 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Helen Venada, San Juan County Hazardous Waste Coordinator recently sent out the following announcement regarding the “round-ups.”
Please do not mix any flammable, toxic, corrosive, or reactive wastes in with your regular garbage. This can put our facility attendants at risk and is restricted by the current landfill contract.
These suggestions are offered for clean-up of your home storage areas:
• Inventory all indoor and outdoor storage areas at your home or business; wear chemical-resistant gloves and old clothes;
• Ventilate the area very well to reduce exposure to chemical dust or fumes; wear a particle (dust) mask, especially if containers are open, and do not smoke within 50 feet of chemicals (the tip of a lit cigarette is 600° hot and could ignite flammable vapors!);
• Store usable products safely for future use (e.g. flammables away from the rest; keep all hazardous products out of the reach of children or pets); assure that usable products left on shelves will not fall off in the event of an earthquake;
• Recycle motor oil, antifreeze, and vehicle batteries at your recycling center before the collection event;
• Give away reusables you don’t want;
• Open unusable latex paints to dry out or mix with sawdust or kitty litter to solidify for regular trash disposal;
• Do not mix any chemical wastes together; keep products in original labeled containers;
• Consolidate paints to save space and staff handling time (i.e. add contents of partially-full cans together to create full ones);
• Re-label unknowns, as much as possible; never sniff or touch chemicals to identify unknowns;
• Store “leakers” inside larger, secure containers;
• Package unwanted poisons, flammables (including oil-based paint and stain wastes), corrosives (acids and bases), and other hazardous waste, placing like materials in plastic-lined containers for transport;
• Wash exposed skin and fingernails, using lots of water and soap; remove exposed clothing for laundering.
• Please, pat yourself and your helpers on the back for rounding up a potential personal and environmental health threat.
Make it a family project to learn about everyday chemicals and to teach everyone in your household to read labels carefully (and respect the warnings) – before bringing chemicals home.