Three Rivers to host household hazardous waste collection days

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

Got old paint thinner? Burned-out fluorescent light bulbs? Dead batteries? A 12-year-old computer?
Three Rivers Solid Waste Management Authority will host two collection days for those items and scores of other household hazardous waste next month.
On April 10, collectors will accept such waste at the Oxford Conference Center just off Highway 7 at Sisk Avenue. A week later on April 17, they’ll stage another collection at the Lee County Agri-Center on Highway 145. Both events will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Other sponsors are Three Rivers Planning and Development District, the city of Oxford, Lafayette County, Lee County and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.
“We have several hundred households participating in each of these locations,” said Ronnie Bell, director of the Division of Government Functions for Three Rivers Planning and Development District. “Depending on what type waste you’re looking at, improper disposal can harm groundwater, endanger wildlife or even be a direct threat to humans.”
Residents of Lafayette, Lee, Calhoun, Itawamba, Monroe, Pontotoc and Union counties may participate without charge, but business waste will not be accepted.
One recycling company will accept used motor oil, transmission fluid, oil filters and other automotive products.
Another will take paint thinners, pesticides, household chemicals, unused fertilizer and a host of other products. Large appliances, electronics, propane cylinders and even used medical supplies such as expired medications and used syringe needles will also be accepted for recycling or safe disposal. (Medical sharps should be in a puncture-resistant package such as a milk jug or a coffee can with a secured lid.) Most household hazardous wastes should be in their original containers, if possible. Extinct fluorescent bulbs should be replaced in their original containers if possible for transporting; if the packages are not available, great care should be taken against breakage and the release of mercury. All hazardous materials should be kept in the trunk of a car or the back of a truck rather than in the cab.
Some waste materials are not suitable for these collections. Yard waste, old furniture or building materials such as used shingles or odd pieces of lumber may be landfilled, while items that are unidentified, biohazardous, explosive or radioactive may not be brought to the collection days.
Latex paint is nonhazardous, organizers say. The first choice for excess latex paint is giving it to someone who’ll use the rest, but if that’s not possible, the lid should be left off and the paint kept safe from disturbance so its water will evaporate. After the paint hardens, it can be disposed of in normal household garbage.
Contact reporter Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.