Spring has arrived and with it the thoughts of spring-cleaning. While some people may only need to do an annual spring-cleaning inside their homes, it is also a good time to take a look at the garage and get rid of things that are no longer of use or no longer work.
For many it’s not the decision to actually clean out the garage that is the issue, it’s what to do with it all that is most perplexing, especially chemicals, tires, the old computer or television that got stored in the garage to make way for a new one. Many of these items cannot go in the landfill and garbage collectors will not accept them. These include the hazardous waste such as antifreeze and motor oils, bug sprays, car wax and polishes, fuel additives, gasoline, kerosene and diesel, paints and stains, pesticides, pool chemicals, and so much more.
So what can a homeowner do?
Donna Cooper, director of the Jefferson County Solid Waste Authority, has some answers and some advice.
One of the first things to do is to check with a county’s solid waste authority or recycling program. Many times they plan special collections that handle household hazardous waste as well as electronics, such as televisions, computers, cell phones, fax machines, key boards, microwaves, printers, etc. Jefferson County has such a collection coming up on May 4 for Jefferson County residents. The collection will be held at Goodwill, 131 Preston Way, Falls Creek.
Cooper says the authority had a similar collection last year at the same location but may move the collection to another part of the county next year just to give all county residents a chance at close access for this special collection.
“We actually because of our funding had not been able to do one of these (collections) for quite some time,” she said. “So we brought them back last year and it worked out very well hiring this company ECS&R because they do it all for us. I’m there checking people in as they come in and then I’m able to distribute recycling information to them. Then they go to an ECS&R rep and at that time they will weigh whatever anybody’s bringing in and then they determine the cost. They collect the money and then they give us a final accounting of everything at the end.”
Cooper noted that Clearfield County works with ECS&R also and does the same type of collection. She did say she believes Clearfield County holds their collections more often than once a year as Jefferson County does but they are a bigger population.
The costs are: 60 cents per pound for tube/CRT televisions and monitors, 40 cents per pound for all other electronics, 50 center per pound for paint, $1 per pound for household hazardous waste, 75 cents per pound for bulbs and batteries and $4 each for propane gas grill tanks (15 to 20 lb. size only). The costs are the actual cost charged by the company and does not go to the Solid Waste Authority, however the authority was able to get a cost savings for residents via a grant. Residents need only pay $1 a pound for the household hazardous waste while the actual cost is $2 per pound.
While oil is accepted at this special collection, Cooper notes that Authority has used oil drop-off locations where motor oil, brake fluid, hydraulic oil, power steering fluid and transmission fluid will be accepted free of charge all year long. The fluids need to be placed in a sealed container such as the original container or a container with a lid to avoid leaking and taken to one of four locations. The fluids should not be mixed with fluids that are not accepted, such as antifreeze, paint, varnish, gasoline, household chemicals, water, solvents/thinners, insecticides, etc. The five types of fluids can only be mixed with each other.
The containers can be taken to the Borough of Falls Creek Maintenance Garage, Second Street, Falls Creek from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday; to Advanced Disposal, 6330 Route 219, Brockway, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays; Advanced Auto Parts, 544 West Mahoning St., Punxsutawney, from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday; and to TSC Store, 557 West Mahoning St., Punxsutawney, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday (limit of five gallons).
She also says there are appliance drop-off sites that will accept stoves, washers, dryers, hot water heaters and humidifiers for free and refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners and dehumidifiers for a $15 charge. A brochure on recycling used appliances notes that residents should not leave items at the drop-off sites without checking in at the office first. The sites are: Advance Disposal in Brockway from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday; Allegheny Mountain Recycling, Route 28, Hazen, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday; and B&B Recycling Center, Route 950 (near power line), Reynoldsville, 24 hours a day (call for details 653-2121). Items not accepted include electronics, televisions, microwaves, furniture, mattresses, tires and trash. Two of the sites, Allegheny Mountain Recycling (328-5233) and B&B Recycling Center also accept other scrap metals; call them for details.
In Elk County, the Elk County Solid Waste Authority electronics drop-off site includes an extensive list of acceptable electronics including televisions and microwave ovens. Elk County residents can visit their website at www.co.elk.pa.us/index.php/electronics-recycling or call them at 776-5373 for more information.
In Brookville, Cooper says Ron Galbraith, 849-1970, will accept desktop computers and laptops for refurbishing (Windows 7, 8 or 10 only) and in DuBois, BMP Systems, Inc. – 1263 Maple Avenue, DuBois, 371-3881, accepts desktop computers, laptops, printers, flat screen televisions and monitors (free of charge).
Some things to remember when cleaning out old paint cans in the garage are that oil-based paint is considered a hazardous household material while latex-based paints are not. Latex paints that are dried out can be bagged and thrown out with the regular trash. To dry out paint that isn’t already dried out, residents can put cat litter or sawdust into the paint can to absorb the wet paint. As long as it is the consistency of a paste, it can go out in the regular trash, Cooper says.
If your garage cleanup includes old tires, there will be a special collection for old tires in the fall, usually in September, Cooper said. The electronics collection is held in the spring and the tire collection in the fall.
Jefferson County residents looking to participate in the May 4 Electronics Recycling & Household Hazardous Waste Collection must register online at www.ecsr.net. Registration is required. Once on the website, select recycling services then click on municipal recycling event registration. Scroll down the list of events under May 4 and click on Jefferson County then click on 4th on the May calendar that pops up and select a time from the drop down menu. Residents without access to the internet can call 1-866-815-0016 to register for the May 4 event.