Hazardous waste pickup program growing popular

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By Elizabeth Daneff
Capital News Service
LANSING — Need to get rid of those old cans of paint in the basement?
Leelanau County will pick up your household hazardous waste this summer, but you better put in your request soon. County officials said the popularity of the collection program is growing, leaving some residents having to wait until July 19 for the next earliest pickup date.
“Our program has been very successful,” said county Planning Director Trudy Galla. “Our first pickup list filled up immediately. And we’re already full of requests for the next pickup date later this spring.”
The program’s success is due in part to more than $52,000 in grants from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to establish a mobile collection program in the area.
Funded under the Clean Michigan Initiative, the DEQ awarded seven local governments across the state a total of $560,000 to establish household hazardous-waste collection programs.
DEQ Director Russell Harding said, “Although not regulated, household wastes may contain potentially hazardous materials,” Harding said. “Establishing collection programs in underserved areas of the state provides safe disposal and educates residents on how to reduce the use of hazardous products in their homes.”
Northwest Michigan, including the city of Cadillac and Leelanau, Grand Traverse, Benzie and Manistee counties, received more than half of the grants. The funds will help to ensure that some of the most common household materials, such as batteries and oil-based paints, do not leak into the ground, contaminating the soil and water supply.
Grant money has also been used to buy a $43,000 mobile collection unit, shared by Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties to pick up hazardous materials from residents’ homes. The unit is equipped with such features as alarms and special containment systems needed for safe transportation of hazardous waste.
“Potentially hazardous products are found in nearly every household,” said Sen. George McManus, R-Traverse City. “Yet, as recently as two years ago, only half of Michigan residents had access to hazardous-waste collection sites. With these grants, more communities will be able to provide this service and more people will have access to it.”
For a list of hazardous materials eligible for pickup in Leelanau County or to have the county pick up your household hazardous waste, call the planning department at 256-9665.
© 2002, Capital News Service, Michigan State University School of Journalism

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