Hazardous waste drop-off scheduled for Saturday at Steamboat Resort
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Routt County is hosting a hazardous waste drop-off day for residents at the Meadows Parking Lot at Steamboat Resort on Saturday.
This is one of the only opportunities for the community to safely dispose of toxic, flammable or otherwise dangerous materials, but it is important people do so. Improper disposal can lead to environmental pollution or threats to human health.
It is particularly important residents do not put these items in their trash cans, according to Larry McCormick, the safety director for Waste Management of Colorado.
“What people put in the trash can inadvertently cause a fire. Something as simple as a battery — which should never be put in the trash — can explode when compacted in the back of a collection truck,” McCormick explained in an email.
Back in the spring, Waste Management dealt with an uptick in garbage truck fires resulting from hazardous materials, as Coloradans cleared clutter from their homes during the state’s stay-at-home order. Fortunately, none of these incidents caused injuries or significant damage to any processing facilities, according to McCormick.
Other common items that should never go into regular garbage cans include automotive fluids, like motor oil and antifreeze, fluorescent light bulbs, garden fertilizer and pesticides. These also can contaminate septic tanks or wastewater treatment systems if poured down drains or toilets.
What: Hazardous waste drop-off day
When: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday
Where: Meadows Parking Lot at Steamboat Resort
Most household cleaners, unless otherwise labeled, are OK to throw in the trash, as are dry wall mud and caulk.
Hazardous materials, including the bottles and cans that still have a residue of the chemicals or paints they held, should be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area until they can be disposed of properly, according to McCormick.
People should keep these materials in their original containers and never remove the labels. It is difficult and potentially unsafe for garbage sanitation workers to handle unlabeled hazardous items, particularly if the substance is unknown.
The Yampa Valley Sustainability Council and Routt County Environmental Health collaborated to organize the upcoming drop-off event. Workers from Waste Management will be there to help dispose of items.
The event includes some precautions to adhere to health guidelines amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone must wear a face covering and maintain 6 feet of social distance. No more than three customers will be allowed outside their vehicles at a time. Extra masks will be available if necessary.
Volunteers will load carts with people’s items and then walk customers to tables to calculate the disposal fee. Costs are based on weight and the type of material.
Household hazardous waste will be the only materials accepted on Saturday. The Yampa Valley Sustainability Council is hosting a separate drop-off day for other hard-to-recycle items, such as mattresses and electronics, on Oct. 31.
The county plans to offer another hazardous waste drop-off event in the spring.
For more information, contact Routt County Environmental Health at E-H@co.routt.co.us.
To reach Derek Maiolo, call 970-871-4247, email dmaiolo@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @derek_maiolo.
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