Green

Union County Sponsors Recycling Event, August 7: Residents Benefit from Initiative to Recycle Household Special Waste, Including Unwanted Fireworks and Ammunition

The County of Union will sponsor a special recycling event on Saturday, August 7, so Union County residents can get rid of household special waste, mercury thermometers and thermostats, propane tanks, and automobile tires in an environmentally safe manner. The collection will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the campus of the Union County Vocational-Technical Schools located at 1776 Raritan Road in Scotch Plains, near the John H. Stamler Police Academy.

In addition, the Union County Police Bomb Squad will be on hand to collect ammunition and fireworks. For information about unwanted ammunition and fireworks, please call the Union County Police at 908-654-9800.

All residents of Union County are eligible to participate at no cost. Pre-registration is not required for this special Saturday collection.

"The special household waste recycling program for Union County residents is particularly important as we become more aware of the need for proper disposal of hazardous items that are found around the home," said Freeholder Chairman Daniel Sullivan. "The result of our effort is safer homes and a cleaner environment for our families and our neighbors."

All that residents need to do is drive to the site with their household special waste, propane tanks, automobile tires, mercury thermometers and mercury thermostats. Workers at the site will unload the vehicles.

"Household special waste" includes oil-based paint and varnish, antifreeze, aerosol cans, pool chemicals, corrosives, pesticides, herbicides, solvents, thinners, fire extinguishers, motor oil and oil filters, gasoline, batteries, thermostats, fluorescent bulbs (unbroken), blood pressure devices, and mercury switches. Only materials in original or labeled containers will be accepted. No containers larger than five gallons will be accepted.

Latex (water-based) paint and empty cans will not be accepted. Once dried out, cans of latex paint should be disposed of with the regular garbage. Leftover latex paint can be air-dried or, to hasten the drying process, kitty litter and/or newspaper can be added to hasten the drying.

"This is a great opportunity to recycle up to eight tires and dispose of old chemical containers that are cluttering up the basement or the garage, or taking up space under the kitchen sink," said Freeholder Rick Proctor, liaison to the Union County Solid Waste Advisory Board. "Our homes become safer once they are rid of hazardous and combustible waste."

There is a limit of eight automobile tires (without rims) per household. This is a household recycling event. No businesses, please.

Residents can turn in their old mercury fever thermometers and receive a new mercury-free digital thermometer, free of charge. One new digital thermometer per household will be provided (while supplies last) regardless of the number of mercury thermometers dropped off. Please bring mercury thermometers in a sealed plastic bag to prevent release of mercury in case of accidental breakage.

Also, Union County, in partnership with Covanta Energy, has expanded its household waste recycling initiative to include mercury thermostats. The mercury thermostat program complements the County's current efforts to collect household pollutants and divert mercury from the regional waste stream in order to help safeguard our water and air quality. What's more, residents will receive a $5 gift certificate to Home Depot for every mercury thermostat turned in at the August 7 recycling event.

"Our partnership with Covanta allows us to extend our efforts to pursue environmentally sound methods of waste disposal," Freeholder Proctor added.

A complete list of the materials that will be accepted on August 7 is available at the Union County Bureau of Planning and Environmental Conservation web site: www.ucnj.org/recycle  

The household special waste collection will be held rain or shine, for Union County residents only and not for businesses. Proof of Union County residency is required. For more information, please call the Recycling Hotline at (908) 654-9889.

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