Heritage Thermal Services celebrates Earth Day with household hazardous waste collection and environmental grants

Heritage employees unload monitors during Earth Day event.
Heritage employees unload monitors that will be recycled.
Environmetal grant recipients pose with their checks at Heritage Thermal Services.
Heritage presented 16 non-profit and school groups with $7,450 in grants to help fund their respective Earth Day projects.

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio – The numbers are in for this year’s Earth Day collection of household hazardous wastes and old electronics at Heritage Thermal Services (HTS). During the four-hour free event, HTS employees unloaded and packed for proper disposal or recycling 19.8 tons of wastes that could have been poured down the drain or tossed in the trash. This year’s volume brings the total amount collected since the program began in 1997 to 248.8 tons.

During the collection, HTS awarded $7,450 to 16 non-profit and school groups to help fund their respective environmental projects. Since the facility started the environmental grant program in 1998, local non-profits have received a total of $101,200. 

HTS thanks the many organizations for helping make the drop-off, known as citySweep, possible. They are: the City of East Liverpool, the East Liverpool Police Department, Southern Columbiana County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Tim Hortons, Tri-State Ford, East Liverpool City Hospital, Carroll-Columbiana-Harrison Environmental Group, The Review, WTOV-9 TV and Pickle Classic Hits radio station.

See more pictures of the event on Facebook.

Heritage Thermal Services announces environmental grant program for 2019

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio – Heritage Thermal Services (HTS) is pleased to announce that applications for environmental grants are now available. Schools and non-profit groups within a 15-mile radius of the facility are welcome to apply.

Grants in amounts ranging from $100 to as much as $1000 are available for projects that demonstrate a benefit for the local environment. A total of $6,500 is available for this year.

Applications may be downloaded from this link, Environmental Grant Application, or by calling 330.386.2194. April 1 is the deadline to apply. Grants will be awarded during this year’s citySweep collection of household hazardous waste for East Liverpool area residents on April 27.

In 2018, 12 school and non-profit groups received a total of $6,500 to help fund their respective green projects. Since the grant program began in 1998, dozens of local organizations have received a total of $93,750 to help keep the community cleaner and greener.


What Household Hazardous Wastes are in your Home?

A couple of weeks ago we posted about Green Cleaning Supplies that could be used for spring cleaning. That made me think of what we can do with some of our chemical cleaning supplies if we no longer need them. As the weather warms up, you will likely see a household hazardous waste event come to your area. We’ve posted about HHW’s in the past but it’s always a good idea to get a refresher on valuable knowledge!

The EPA defines a household hazardous waste as, “leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients.”

  • Corrosive materials are any material that can cause skin damage to people or a substance that significantly corrodes metal. Items like bleach, ammonia, and several household cleaners would fall into this category.
  • Toxic materials are poisonous meaning they can cause illness or death. Vehicle fluids like antifreeze and gasoline are toxic.
  • Ignitable materials are those items that have the potential to ignite during routine handling due to friction or heat sources, or by contact with other chemicals. Alcohol containing items are often ignitable.
  • Reactive materials are those which tend to react spontaneously during routine handling, to react vigorously with air or water, to be unstable to shock or heat, to generate toxic gases, or to explode. A common reactive combination is that of mixing bleach and ammonia which will expel a toxic gas [source].

Due to the potential dangers of these products, many cities have HHW events to provide a safe place for disposal of unneeded items. If you are unsure about what items in your home may qualify as household hazardous wastes, we have put together a helpful eBook on the subject. It details 10 different types of household hazardous wastes and provides information about what they are, why they are dangerous, and what you should do with them. It also contains lists of items that fall into each of the 10 categories. If you are interested in this eBook just clock the button below to be taken to the download form.

Is It Hazardous Waste… Old Electronics?

This one may come as a shock to you because we don’t tend to think of things we use regularly (like our cell phones, iPods, and computers) as having the possibility to be considered hazardous. These types of wastes, identified by the somewhat new term E-wastes, include a bevy of items falling under the umbrella of out dated and out of use electronics.

What might I have?

So what exactly are e-wastes? According to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, “’E-waste’ refers to any unwanted electronic device or Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) and is classified as universal waste. E-waste frequently contains hazardous materials, predominantly lead and mercury, and is produced by households, businesses, governments, and industries.” That said, anything from old stereos and boom boxes to outdated cellphones or computers can fall into this category.

What does this mean for me?

Does this mean that the longer you keep your computer the greater the chance is of it spontaneously going up in flames? Not at all. It simply means that when the time comes to dispose of your old computer you need to be sure to do it in the proper manner.

According to the Marion County ToxDrop Committee, “everything from cell phones to computers needs to be recycled rather than thrown away. Electronics contain hazardous materials such as lead and mercury. These materials, if buried in a landfill, can contaminate groundwater and cause serious health issues for humans.”

How can I dispose of my e-wastes?

Electronics can be broken down and separated into plastic and aluminum to be reused. The City of Indianapolis has a program called ToxDrop for all city citizens where you can drop off your electronics and household hazardous waste to be recycled and/or disposed of properly. Most other cities have similar programs. It just takes a quick Google search to find out about one near you!

Is it Hazardous Waste… Fluorescent Light Bulbs?

Because they are a greener alternative to traditional light bulbs, fluorescents have become increasingly popular in homes and businesses. This category includes fluorescent lamp tubes or bulbs. Fluorescent lamp ballasts are also considered a part of this category.

The danger with these bulbs is that they contain small amounts of mercury, a potent, developmental neurotoxin that can damage the brain, liver, kidneys and central nervous system, especially in infants and young children.

The bulbs are perfectly safe as long as the glass is not broken and for that reason it is important to be especially careful when disposing of spent fluorescent bulbs. Since they contain mercury, fluorescent bulbs should be recycled in order to ensure that they stay out of landfills where they could contaminate the air, soil and/or groundwater.

The EPA provides a few reasons why is Recycling CFLs Important as well. Recycling prevents the release of mercury into the environment. CFLs and other fluorescent bulbs often break when thrown into a dumpster, trash can or compactor, or when they end up in a landfill or incinerator.

Other materials in the bulbs get reused. Recycling CFLs and other fluorescent bulbs allows the reuse of the glass, metals, and other materials that make up fluorescent lights. Virtually all components of a fluorescent bulb can be recycled.

Your area may require recycling. Some states and local jurisdictions have more stringent regulations than the U.S. EPA does, and may require that you recycle CFLs and other mercury-containing light bulbs. California, Maine, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Vermont and Massachusetts, for example, all prohibit mercury-containing lamps from being discarded into landfills.

Some examples include:

  • CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamp), U-Bends, Circular
  • 4’ and 8’ fluorescent lamp tubes

Are They Hazardous Wastes… Pesticides and Herbicides?

Pesticides and herbicides are substances used to help control pests like insects, arachnids, rodents, and weeds. Oftentimes used in gardening, they are intended to help us keep these pests both from damaging produce and harming people with bites or stings. While these products are undeniably helpful, they also pose certain dangers.

According to the University of Missouri, accidental exposure to pesticides can occur through ingestion, inhalation, and/or skin absorption. Once exposed, pesticides can harm organisms including pets, livestock, wildlife, and people. Physical reaction varies in relation to the type of pesticide, the amount of pesticide one is exposed to, and the age and health of the victim.

Similar to most kinds of household poisons, children are generally more susceptible to harm from pesticides than are adults, due to lower body weight and increased toxins per pound. “Children are also especially sensitive to the neurotoxins often found in pesticides, because children’s immune systems, organs, brains, and nervous systems are still developing.”

In addition to poisoning, the EPA warns that, “The potential [negative] environmental impacts from pesticide disposal are air, soil, and water contamination from releases and accidental exposure of humans and animals.”

The environmental implications concerning improper disposal are the same as for the application process, except that the concentration of the pesticide may be stronger because of the quantity and mass of the disposed pesticide. The disposal of pesticides is a critical process; if not properly conducted it can have immediate, detrimental effects on the environment. The EPA encourages either storing excess pesticides for later use or returning it to the manufacturer for relabeling or reprocessing into other materials.

If you have any unused pesticides or herbicides the best way to dispose of them is at a Household Hazardous Waste collection event.

Some examples of the types of products to look for are:

  • Non-Aerosol Pesticides and Herbicides
  • Rat Poison
  • Roach Traps
  • Home and Garden Sprays (Non-Aerosol)
  • Roundup
  • Weed-B-Gon
  • Non-Aerosol Sprays
  • Citronella Candles
  • Fertilizer
  • Ant Traps
  • GrubEx
  • Weed and Feed

Is it Hazardous Waste…Batteries?

One of the most commonly known potentially hazardous wastes you can find in homes is batteries. This includes used or spent batteries, such as alkaline or lead-acid car batteries. I know that before I began working for a hazardous waste company I always wondered if I was doing the right thing with my dead batteries.

According to the Duracell website, normal alkaline batteries can, in most cases, be thrown out with your household trash; however, we recommend that you recycle them or take them to an HHW event whenever possible because, although mercury has been removed from most commercial alkaline batteries available today, they still contain toxins that should not be released into the environment.

Additionally, if you do choose to throw away your used batteries, it is important that you do so in small numbers. Even dead batteries are often times not completely drained, so throwing away large quantities of batteries together could still be dangerous. A large group of mostly used batteries can work together to produce a charge.

Lastly, due to the chemicals in battery types other than alkaline, you should make sure to recycle rechargeable, lithium, lithium ion, and zinc air batteries. There are several ways to recycle batteries, and a quick internet search will provide you with plenty of options including Heritage Lifecycle Battery Recycling Kits.

Some examples of the types of batteries you may have in your home are:

  • Car Batteries (Lead-acid)
  • Alkaline Batteries (AA, AAA, C, D)
  • Rechargeable Batteries (Lithium-ion, NiMH, NiCd)
  • Camera Batteries
  • Lithium Batteries
  • Zinc Air Batteries
  • Etc.

So now you know, while it is true that most standard batteries can be disposed of in your regular trash, it is still important to go about it the right way. Throw away only in small quantities and if possible take to a household hazardous waste day instead.

Is it Hazardous Waste… Household Cleaners?

You may remember from some of our previous posts about household hazardous wastes that the rules are different for homes vs. businesses. The primary distinction being that residential homes are not regulated by the EPA. That said, it is still a very good idea to properly dispose of those items in your home which could be considered hazardous.

In the past we’ve written about telling the difference between hazardous and non-hazardous paints as well as knowing when aerosol cans are considered hazardous. Today I want to discuss household cleaners. While the ideal situation is that you would use up the cleaner via its intended purpose, I know that sometimes we buy items that we just don’t like; tile cleaners that don’t quite do the job, window cleaners that leave streaks, etc. When this happens we may find ourselves at a loss for getting rid of it.

The primary concern when it comes to household cleaners is whether or not they can be considered corrosive. A corrosive is any material that can cause skin damage to people or a substance that significantly corrodes metal. They can be liquid or solid and either acidic or caustic in nature.

Many household cleaners (such as bleach and ammonia) are considered corrosive materials. In addition to potentially causing severe skin damage, certain corrosive cleaning materials (such as toilet bowl or tub and tile cleaner) can be poisonous if ingested.

Another danger of cleaning materials is the fumes they give off which can cause significant damage to humans as well as the environment. These fumes can be made worse when different chemical cleaners are mixed, for example, ammonia and bleach. When combined, these two common household items will put off a toxic gas that initially attacks the eyes and mucous membranes. Prolonged exposure can burn the lungs, cause loss of consciousness, respiratory failure, and even death.

Long story short, it’s important to know what is in your cleaners so you can determine the best way to dispose of them. Luckily, many companies are now altering formulas or making “green” alternative options that you can buy. These should be easier to dispose of if need be. If, however, you have an old corrosive material it would be best disposed of at an HHW (household hazardous waste) event.

Is it Hazardous Waste… Aerosol Cans?

What is an aerosol can?

The basic aerosol can of today has not really changed since the 1920’s. It is a metal can in which two fluids are sealed. One fluid is the product that is to be dispensed and the other is the propellant. The propellant is a compressed gas that expands when the aerosol can is opened (generally by pushing a button or pulling a lever). The propellant forces the product through a tube in the can and out the nozzle. Many different products are dispensed in aerosol cans, from shaving cream to cooking spray or room fresheners. Although the cans these products come in may look different, the mechanism behind them is the same.

When is an aerosol can hazardous?

Due to regulations concerning Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) most aerosol cans today use a hydrocarbon propellant. While this type of propellant is less harmful to the ozone layer than CFCs and HCFCs were it is highly flammable.

If an aerosol can held a substance that is regulated as hazardous it must “drained or emptied to less than 3% by weight of the total capacity of the container (40 CFR 261.7)” or it is considered a hazardous waste.

That said, even aerosol cans that have been drained to less than 3% will likely still contain propellant (which can be reactive when combined with an igniting force) and as such will still be considered hazardous. So, unless a can is fully emptied of propellant it is still considered a hazardous waste and should be disposed of accordingly.

How should I dispose of my aerosol cans?

For a business, an aerosol can that has been both punctured and drained of its contents would meet the definition of scrap metal (40 CFR 261.1) and can be recycled. Regulations for puncturing change though and need to be checked on both a national and state level. If not punctured and recycled, a hazardous waste determination must be made and the can(s) must be disposed of appropriately.

For an individual or home, RCRA does not regulate how you dispose of your aerosol cans. If you would like to do the best/most environmentally friendly thing though you could take your old aerosol cans to a local household hazardous waste collection.

And remember, this post is meant to provide general information about managing aerosol cans. It is always important to consult the actual state and federal statutes and regulations before making any decisions that may impact regulatory compliance.

Is it Hazardous Waste…Paint?

As summer approaches it makes me think back to last year when I worked the big Indianapolis Tox Drop event at Butler University. While there are several Tox Drop events throughout the year, this one is usually the biggest. That’s not really the point of the post though.

The point is that while I was there we collected more paint than I ever anticipated. I have since learned that, “Paint is the most prevalent household hazardous waste (HHW), meaning it makes up the most quantity, by volume, of materials received at HHW collection programs across the country. [1]

Is my paint hazardous?

That said, another thing I learned at the event was that much of the paint people bring is not actually considered hazardous waste. This is because many people do not know the difference between latex based paint and oil based paint; the former being relatively harmless and the latter being considered hazardous.

You’re probably wondering, “How do I tell the difference between the different kinds?” Luckily, it’s pretty simple. Oil based paint will say on the can that it is oil based or alkyd. Latex paint will say that it is latex or “water based” or will list water as one of the primary ingredients. Once you have identified the type of paint you are working with, you can determine the best means of disposal.

What if my paint is latex based?

If the paint you have is latex based you have a few options. The easiest way to get rid of it would be to use it up. If that doesn’t work for you though, you have some other choices. While most states prohibit free flowing liquids (such as paint) being put in the trash, if you dry it out it is legal. You can do this by allowing the air to solidify it or by putting an absorbent, such as cat litter, into the old paint. It can then be safely disposed of in your regular municipal waste.

What if my paint is oil based?

If the paint is oil based it is considered a hazardous waste and must be disposed of differently. Your best options for oil based paints are using them up or taking them to a hazardous waste disposal event. In Indianapolis, they are called Tox Drops. These events provide a safe way to dispose of toxic paint.

So if you’re cleaning out your garage this summer make sure to check what type of paint you are dealing with so you can safely and legally dispose of it.