There was one question many drivers patiently waiting to drop off items at the city’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day on Saturday, Oct. 5 had when they neared the front of line:
“Why not have two of these a year?”
During the course of the four-hour collection, vehicles snaked around Riverdale Avenue to reach the Myrtle Street entrance to the city Highway and Bridges garage site.
The cars carried everything from old paint and stains to fertilizers and swimming pool chemicals — most carefully placed in cardboard boxes or pickup truck beds.
“This is better than having people throw this stuff down the drain,” said resident Steve Ronning, who was dropping off driveway sealer, craft paint and batteries.
Resident John Didonato brought items he found at his late grandfather’s house, such as old cleaning supplies, for proper disposal.
“They should do this more than once a year,” Didonato said in a comment echoed by so many others.
The collections are not inexpensive for the city to offer, however.
Hundreds of cars lined up
Last year, more than 400 cars came through the line to deposit unwanted materials from their homes, said Marilynn Gannon, city recycling coordinator.
Based on the number of cars waiting an hour after this year’s collection had started, it’s likely that even more people participated in 2013.
“I love that so many people take the time to bring items in,” Gannon said while assisting at the collection.
Gannon said some unusual items have been dropped off at the collections through the years, including cyanide pellets (used to kill flies in greenhouses) and a mayonnaise jar full of mercury.
“There are some interesting things that sit there in people’s garages and basements,” she said.
At the collection, about 20 volunteers helped coordinate the drop-off process. “This can be hard work, with all the running around and checking,” Gannon said.
The collection was handled by MXI Environmental Services, whose workers removed the items from people’s vehicles and placed them in containers. Proof of Shelton residency was required to drop off items.
City officials noted the collection prevents these materials from contaminating ground soil or water, becoming a fire hazard, or causing harm to children and pets.