Recycle Hazardous Waste Safely

Households in McLean County looking to properly dispose of their hazardous waste materials will finally have a chance to do this October 5th.

“A lot of toxic type items that consumers use on a regular basis should not be thrown into the regular trash because in landfills there’s the potential for the waste to leak into our ground water.” said Michael Brown, the Executive Director of The Ecology Action Center.

The collection will allow households to bring their hazardous waste to the Mitsubishi Motors North America plant parking lot from 8 AM till 3 PM. 

This year will mark the second year in a row where The Ecology Action Center has been able to organize the collection. 

From 2002 to 2007 the EAC was annually able to secure funding through the state to put on the program, but was stopped after 2007 due to budget cuts. Through fundraising the EAC was able to raise $140,000 through direct donations, and another $20,000 from local businesses to help bring the program back in 2012. This year the EAC was able to once again gain financing from the state to organize the collection. 

Last years collection was extremely successful, and accounted for 150,000 pounds of hazardous waste. 

“It (Last years collection) was wildly successful. it was the most successful hazardous waste collection we’ve ever had in the community. We had 2,000 cars come through, representing about 3,000 households.” said Brown.

The reason for such a large turn out is largely due to the fact that this is the only time in the year that people in the area can properly dispose of their hazardous waste. The closest place where people in McLean County can recycle household hazardous waste is Chicago. 

With the success of last years collection came some significant wait times. 

“We’re encouraging people to work with neighbors, and have one car bring waste from multiple households as a way to consolidate the amount of cars coming through.” said Brown. “We’re also encouraging people to help out neighbors who can’t bring their waste, such as the elderly or people with mobility issues.”

In order to help the collection run smoothly and quickly the EAC is looking for volunteers to do tasks that don’t involve the handling of hazardous waste, such as traffic control and surveying cars.

“We can use as much help from volunteers as we can get.” said Brown

If you would like to volunteer you can visit http://www.ecologyactioncenter.org and sign up. Volunteers must be 18 years or older as a safety precaution. You can call 309-454-3169 with any questions regarding volunteering or the program. 

Items that will be accepted include oil-based paints, household batteries, paint thinners, used motor oil, herbicides, drain cleaners, insecticides, lawn chemicals, pesticides, solvents, old gasoline, antifreeze, pool chemicals, hobby chemicals, cleaning products, aerosol paints and pesticides, mercury, fluorescent lamp bulbs, double bagged and wetted asbestos, old and outdated medicines and pharmaceuticals, and electronics.

Items that will not be accepted include tires, agricultural chemicals, propane tanks, business/commercial sector wastes, smoke detectors, explosives, farm machinery oil, fireworks, fire extinguishers, lead acid batteries, institutional wastes, medical wastes, sharps, needles and potentially infectious medical wastes.

It is also important that people keep the chemicals in their original containers, and not mix them. 

The Mitsubishi Motor’s parking lot is located at 100 N Mitsubishi Mtwy in Normal.