Without even spelling out the familiar HHWCD acronym, most collectors of life’s discards already know it to be Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day. And HHWCD is simply an easily recognized code for “Get busy.”
Saturday, March 22, is “The Day.”
Scheduled for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Tri-State Exhibition Center, this is the first of the new year’s semiannual collection dates. The next one will roll around sometime this fall.
But there’s no need to wait for autumn breezes to blow out the cluttered storage sheds, disorganized basements and disheveled garages. Doing it now will enable those stricken with cabin fever to be even more prepared for the welcoming kiss of warmer times.
Cheryl Dunson, executive vice president of marketing for Santek Waste Services who coordinates the twice-a-year community cleaning blitz, put another twist on the occasion. In her words, do it for the environment.
“Embrace the spring season on environmentally sound ground and take advantage of the semi-annual Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day event,” she encouraged.
The Tri-State equestrian facility, a popular McDonald landmark off Nature’s Trail, which was formerly known as Pleasant Grove Road, will be waiting to accept the community’s tired, forlorn and unneeded ... household hazardous waste.
Anyone who missed last October’s event is a target for participation. And those who collect stuff quickly, and who might have made some dropoffs last fall, can still do it all over again in two weeks.
“Although this year’s spring event is a little earlier than normal, we’re looking for a good response from the public,” Dunson stressed. “We’ll keep our fingers crossed that the weather cooperates, but despite the conditions we’ll be there in full force to unload vehicles and package wastes for disposal.”
Weather can be a factor whether one wants to participate or not. In past events, especially those in early spring, on-site volunteers and donors have been known to spy a few snowflakes or at the very least shiver in some of Old Man Winter’s late-season fury.
But cold or not, and regardless of what’s falling from the sky, volunteers plan to be there to accept household refuse, sort the donations and prepare them for proper disposal.
And that’s an important key.
Volunteers long ago discovered the secret to safe, proper dropoffs; that is, through the use of sturdy cardboard boxes, and preferably lined in old newspapers or plastic.
“By securing waste streams in sturdy cardboard boxes, residents will ensure the safety of the volunteers and workers who package the materials for disposal or re-use,” Dunson said. “If waste streams are properly labeled and packaged, it also makes it easier for the volunteers who unload residents’ vehicles.”
Dunson said the biggest misperception about household hazardous waste is that empty paint cans or dried-up paint is hazardous.
“Residents can place their empty paint cans or cans containing dried-up paint in their household trash,” she said. “We’re going to make a concerted effort this spring to only accept cans that contain liquid paint in an effort to help defray disposal costs.”
As is a tradition with the HHWCD initiative, some helpful hints to area residents can keep the traffic flow moving as well as provide for the safety and well-being of volunteers:
n No commercial or agribusiness waste will be accepted because the program is strictly limited to Bradley County residents.
n Deliver refuse in a sturdy cardboard box. This helps with time efficiency in the unloading of vehicles, and it provides for improved safety for all volunteer workers.
n Residents bringing waste oils to the HHWCD event will be directed to the Bradley County Landfill which accepts waste oils free of charge throughout the year.
n Residents delivering microwaves and tires also will be directed to the landfill because those materials are accepted at the landfill and recycled throughout the year. “... Contrary to popular belief, microwaves and tires aren’t considered hazardous wastes,” Dunson specified. “Residents with those waste streams will be directed to the landfill.”
n Arrive early and be patient. Volunteers are working as rapidly as possible, while giving full priority to safety, with the intent of keeping the line of traffic moving.
n The collection program is designed to conveniently relieve Bradley County homeowners of all household toxic wastes. Such materials may include paints, solvents, cleaners, pesticides, automotive fluids, aerosols, old computers, TVs and fluorescent light bulbs.
n As always, Cleveland and Bradley County residents are encouraged to take advantage of the year-round electronics waste recycling efforts at the Peerless Road Recycling Center.
n If in doubt about materials that can, or cannot, be accepted, or for any other questions about the community-service project, contact Dunson at 303-7107 or Joanne Maskew, executive director of Cleveland/Bradley County Keep America Beautiful, at 559-3307.
“When an event like this can cost upwards of $50,000, we must be discriminative of which types of waste we accept for disposal,” Dunson explained. “We’re grateful to Mayor D. Gary Davis for funding this event, which gives all residents ample opportunity to dispose of these difficult waste streams.”
As has been the case for years, the HHWCD event is the result of a collaborative effort between willing partners who share the cause of protecting the environment.
The Bradley County mayor’s office provides the funding. Other program sponsors include Santek, Keep America Beautiful and Tri-State. The program is funded with host fees paid to the county by Santek, the contractor that manages the Bradley County Landfill.
Dunson credited the many players in the team effort.
“In addition to the KAB volunteers who help direct traffic, we’re extremely grateful to Tri-State facility manager Mack Hess and his staff for providing free access to the center,” she said. “Logistically, Tri-State allows us to move vehicles in and out quickly without long waits or delays. We’re also grateful to the Bradley County Sheriff’s [Office] for providing inmate labor with which to unload vehicles.”