Editorial: HHWCD on Saturday a chance to clean out
Oct 23, 2013 | 477 views | 0 0 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Autumn’s clear skies, crisp air and invigorating colors offer as good an opportunity as the spring season — in fact, even better — to do some household cleanouts, especially if it includes the safe disposal of hazardous waste materials that shouldn’t be taken to the landfill, to a barren gully at the back property line or even flushed into the wastewater collection system.

This points to the importance of Saturday’s biannual Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day. From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Tri-State Exhibition Center, Cleveland and Bradley County residents wishing to rid their homes, sheds, basements and utility rooms of certain hazardous wastes may do so.

It’s free of charge.

It’s convenient.

It’s an excellent use of a few Saturday hours.

It’s a strong personal commitment to the environment, one that says to our children, our children’s children and to their children, “We’re doing this for the present, but we’re mostly doing it for the future ... your future.”

Events like HHWCD aren’t offered in every community. Some towns can’t afford the added expense since the state of Tennessee discontinued its funding of such initiatives in 2010. In our community, HHWCD is made possible because of a Landfill Fund that is sustained through tipping fees. The fund is operated through the office of Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis who continues to make the money available for the benefit of area families and the future health of our hometown.

HHWCD costs about $50,000. Currently, it is offered twice yearly — once in the spring and once in the fall season.

Last April’s event fell on hard times. Participation was down because a fickle Mother Nature blew in some cold temperatures and even snow flurries. Such conditions can negatively impact any outdoor activity.

But Saturday is a new opportunity, one that is well worth its weight in household hazardous wastes.

For those planning to participate, and we hope your numbers rival the size of an army, here are a few helpful tips that will enhance the safety of HHWCD volunteers and household donors, as well as help to maximize the motorist flow to and from the central Tri-State collection point.

- Secure discarded materials in sturdy cardboard boxes that, preferably, are lined with newspapers or plastic.

- Properly label containers that will keep volunteers informed about types of materials they are handling; this promotes safety and efficiency.

- Don’t bring dried-up paint or paint cans; these are not hazardous and can be dumped into household trash.

- Don’t bring tires or old microwaves; neither is considered hazardous waste and can be discarded at the landfill.

- Do not mix two or more materials for discarding because such combinations can potentially create toxic smoke or can even become combustible.

- Leave products in their original containers if possible; re-label them if necessary.

- Types of accepted materials are multiple. Just a random few include automotive and marine products like oil and fuel additives, grease and engine fluids; home maintenance and improvement products like strippers, thinners, sealant, tar, stains and varnishes; home lawn and garden products like pesticides, fertilizers and wood preservatives; electronics like CPUs, TVs, monitors, printers and keyboards; and miscellaneous items like pool chemicals, medicines and drugs, aerosols and many others.

Here’s another critical reminder: Please be patient. Organizers have worked hard to streamline the unloading process. Volunteers are giving their best, but such manual labors require time ... which points to the importance of carefully packaging your discarded materials.

Santek Waste Services, Cleveland Utilities, Cleveland/Bradley Keep America Beautiful, Tri-State Exhibition Center and Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis are to be commended for again making Saturday’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection event available to area families.

What better way to clean up a storage area with a cleanout of its contents, especially those that can be harmful to our surroundings — and to us — if dumped onto the ground we tread upon or leaked into the waterways that give us recreation and keep us hydrated?

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day is all about tossing out the old and the lethal, but it’s also about tossing in a good dose of care for our hometown community and the future families who will call it home.

We urge Cleveland and Bradley County residents to participate Saturday.

We ask your patience.

We applaud your desire to do what is right.

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(Editor’s Note: For more information or to receive a free pamphlet about the event, contact Cheryl Dunson, Santek Waste Services, at 303-7107, or Joanne Maskew, Keep America Beautiful, at 559-3307.)