This article will be published in the Teton Valley News on May 7 2015. It is republished with permission.
Spring cleaning and home projects are in full force! Our local cities and Teton County are also hosting community-wide clean-ups and Arbor Day celebrations May 9-16 (see our homepage for more info). All of this cleaning is great, but, do you know that herbicides, car oil, wood stain, paint, and many of your household cleaners are considered hazardous waste? While these items can make our lives easier, many of them can be harmful when used or disposed of improperly. In fact, a lot of common household cleaners should not be thrown in your trash or poured down the drain where they could potentially enter and pollute our water resources, including drinking water. Throwing away many of these items is illegal because of their harmful effects. By understanding what products may be hazardous, how they’re handled, and if there are any potential alternative products, you can help make your home and environment a cleaner, safer place.
Locally, used motor oil can be recycled at our transfer station, and fluorescent light bulbs are accepted at Fall River Rural Electric Cooperative in Driggs. Oil-based paint is hazardous and should be taken to the Hazardous Waste Facility, but dried latex and water-based paint can be disposed of at the transfer station. To dry your water-soluble paint, add one part absorbent (e.g., kitty litter or sawdust) to two parts paint and mix well. Let dry for 24 hours before disposal.
The following materials are toxic and should never be disposed of in a landfill, but you can recycle them locally! Batteries are recycled at the transfer station and Ace Hardware. Electronic waste like computers, TV’s, printers, iPods, digital cameras, and cell phones can are accepted at the transfer station. Old cell phones are also accepted at Silver Star Communications.