By Drew Hatzenbihler
Solid Waste Administrator
Fillmore County’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection event is nearly here! This year’s event will be on Tuesday, May 3 from 11 a.m. until 3p.m. I wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone of some helpful tips for this event and also to give you some other options for hazardous waste disposal that exist within the state and community.
Fillmore County is unable to collect hazardous waste outside of our designated collections. People often ask why we don’t collect waste year-round. We are only allowed to store hazardous waste for up to 90 days. With a smaller community like Fillmore County we would need to have a minimum of four pickups per year. Each of those pickups is expensive. In addition, the training and staffing required to collect hazardous waste all year would be cost prohibitive. As a result, Fillmore County has opted into a system where we collect hazardous waste twice per year (on the first Tuesdays of May and October).
We know that twice a year isn’t always convenient for everyone. If you are unable to make the collection event there are some options available. The easiest option is to ask a friend or neighbor (who may already be going anyways) to drop some materials off for you. Just make sure to double check the list on Fillmore County’s website to make sure your materials will be accepted. Pay special attention to the items we DO NOT accept at our collection events.
The most common hazardous waste that people have for disposal is paint. Paint can be accepted at certain locations all year. At paintcare.org you can type in your address and find the nearest locations that accept paint year round. Paintcare participating programs will generally accept your paint for free but many sites have a limit of five gallons per visit. I would recommend calling a facility prior to dropping any paint off because some facilities (primarily county/city run facilities) may only accept waste from county residents.
Paint is by far the primary hazardous waste we see at these collection events. However, we also see a large number of people attempting to dispose of materials that are collected year round at the Fillmore County Resource Recovery Center. People bringing these materials often end up waiting in line to dispose of their hazardous waste and then another line to dispose of items like light bulbs, oil filters, electronics, and batteries. Fillmore County collects motor oil, antifreeze, batteries, oil filters, electronics, and light bulbs any time the facility is open. Motor oil, antifreeze, and batteries are collected for free (in household quantities). We do charge a fee for oil filters, electronics, and light bulbs. The fees DO NOT change during our hazardous waste collection events. If you have these materials I generally recommend finding a time to drop them off any day other than during a hazardous waste collections.
Collection days can get very busy and have been known to have a long line waiting for disposal. While it is tempting to try to avoid the line by showing up early, in the past, people arriving early have caused traffic and safety issues. With this in mind, please don’t show up until 11 a.m. at the earliest. Early arrivals create issues for our haulers dumping at the facility, can block our volunteers from getting to where they need to be, and can also create dangerous situations on nearby roadways. One other thing that helps speed up the process is to have the materials you want to dispose of in the trunk of your car in a cardboard box or other container you don’t want back.
Keep these helpful tips in mind when trying to dispose of your hazardous waste. If you have any questions about the event or any of the specific materials you are planning to bring please call the Fillmore County Resource Recovery Center at (507) 765-4704.