This collection program is designed to assist residents in the proper disposal of Household Hazardous Waste. Contact the District Office for more information.
Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Events
9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Click here for a list of accepted items.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average household disposes of one pound of hazardous waste each year. “Household hazardous waste” or “HHW” are unwanted products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable or reactive ingredients that require special care upon disposal. Examples of these products include oil-based paints, thermometers, car batteries, pesticides, antifreeze, etc.
Examples of improper HHW disposal methods include pouring them down the drain, on the ground, into storm sewers; burning them; flushing them down the toilet; burying them; dumping them in vacant lots or in ditches; or putting them out with your trash. The dangers of these disposal methods might not be apparent, but improper disposal can contaminate lakes, rivers, streams and groundwater (located below the ground before it goes to a river, stream or well); pollute the air with dangerous fumes; or put your sanitation and landfill workers at risk for serious injury.
A great way to help save our environment is simply by practicing the “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle,” approach to waste reduction. Usually called the “Three R’s,” we like to add an extra “R” for “Rethink,” because it’s best to “Rethink” habits in order to create better practices to reduce our environmental impact.
The best way to manage your HHW is to not have it in the first place. Minimize your purchases of products containing hazardous ingredients. Consider logical organic alternatives, like natural pesticides. If you must purchase products with hazardous ingredients, buy only as much as you need. Even if larger containers cost less, smaller containers save on storage room and the potential inconvenience of seeking appropriate disposal.
If you must purchase products with hazardous ingredients, use them completely and properly, according to directions, so the chemicals don’t become HHW. Be aware that even when you think you have emptied a container, usually some liquid remains that should be disposed of appropriately.
If you have leftover products and can’t use them, ask your neighbors, friends and family members if they can utilize them. If they can’t use them, consider donating these items to a charity or service organization. Local groups and shelters on tight budgets may happily accept cleaning supplies and paints. Make sure donated products are in their original labeled containers, so new users can become aware of any safety precautions.
If you have HHW, check the container labels for any disposal recommendations. If the labels don’t offer recommendations, the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County, 465-3694, to learn about collection events and disposal tips.
Another option for recycling your HHW is to visit the website www.Earth911.com which advertises places that accept these chemicals.
Storing HHW indefinitely is not the best solution and only delays the inevitable disposal. Additionally, their containers and contents degrade over time, labels get lost or become unreadable, and the chances of children or pets finding these poisons increase. How often do we forget we have HHW when we place them out of sight?!
Porter County residents have other options to dispose of certain HHW items:
Consider your HHW purchases, usage, storage and disposal methods, and reduce, reuse and recycle. Opportunities abound to help you make the right choices and make a difference.
Though latex paint is not considered to be a hazardous waste, we have begun accepting it at our household hazardous waste collection events. Thanks to an agreement with the City of Hobart, all latex paint collected goes to the recycling facility in Hobart, where it gets recycled and sold for reuse. Read more!
Porter County residents also have the opportunity to recycle their old latex paint and purchase usable recycled latex paint at the City of Hobart’s Department of Public Works site, 340 S. Shelby St. Recycle and purchase: Mondays through Fridays, between 7 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. Recycle only: Saturdays, between 8 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. Oil-based paint will not be accepted, neither will latex paint generated by businesses. Residents and businesses can purchase the recycled paint product for $3 per gallon. Porter County not-for-profit organizations and government agencies can obtain the recycled product for free.
The intergovernmental agreement between the district and the City will continue through the end of 2013 at which point it will be re-evaluated.
Latex paint can be safely discarded in your trash, but it must be completely dried out before it goes in the garbage. Simply remove the lid and, if you have a large quantity leftover, add dirt, sand, saw dust, shredded paper or kitty litter to absorb the liquid. If you only have a small quantity left, simply leaving the lid off of the can to dry the paint will suffice. Depending on how much paint is in the can, it should be dried within 24 to 48 hours. If your can is full, you will need to put part of it in another container. The mixture of the absorbent and the paint should be about 50/50. Once you think it is dry, tip it to make sure there is no liquid in it. Leave the lid off and set it out with your trash.