Illinois EPA Will Collect Hazardous Waste This Weekend | St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois EPA Will Collect Hazardous Waste This Weekend

Oct 25, 2019

EDWARDSVILLE — The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency will collect toxic and hazardous waste from Metro East residents this weekend. The agency, along with Madison County Planning and Development, will host a cleanup event at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on Saturday. 

Residents can dispose of any toxic chemicals they may have in a safe and environmentally friendly way, said David Saladino, Illinois EPA environmental protection specialist.

“The purpose of the household hazardous waste program is to try and remove as many of these toxic and hazardous materials from the general waste stream as we can,” he said.

The cleanup will accept:

  • oil-based paint (no latex)
  • paint thinners and strippers
  • gas, antifreeze, motor oil
  • degreasers
  • yard and pool chemicals
  • fluorescent bulbs
  • hobby chemicals
  • household cleaners
  • mercury
  • household batteries
  • medicines
  • solvents and aerosol paints

These chemicals are dangerous and can cause major problems if they’re not disposed of properly, Saladino said. 

“People in the past were disposing of these materials in their regular trash, sending them to the landfill,” he said. “That presents a number of hazards.” 

Chemicals can mix and react with each other creating toxic gasses or even fires, Saladino said. At the cleanup event, the EPA will separate hazardous items accordingly and ship them for proper disposal.

There are some items the cleanup will not accept. They are:

  • latex paint
  • tires
  • electronics 
  • ammunition 
  • explosives
  • fire extinguishers
  • smoke detectors
  • lead acid batteries 
  • sharp items and needles
  • farm machinery oil 
  • propane tanks
  • business
  • biohazardous waste

Some of these items, like tires, electronics and fire extinguishers, have their own collection events, Saladino said. Others, like ammunition and explosives, are too dangerous to process at large collection events.

The event also does not accept latex paint because it’s not toxic, Saladino said.

“It’s just really messy for people and for waste haulers, anyone that has to handle it,” he said. “It can be safely dried out or absorbed up and discarded with regular trash.”

Illinois EPA typically hosts these kinds of cleanups in the region twice a year, Saladino said. But he stressed that doesn’t guarantee there will be cleanup events in the future.

“Although we anticipate being able to continue this program into the future, it’s never a sure thing,” he said. 

Event details

The cleanup event Saturday at SIUE runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is open to any Illinois resident, but registration with Madison County Planning and Development is required. You can register here or call 618-296-5237.

Eric Schmid covers the Metro East for St. Louis Public Radio as part of the journalism grant program Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project. Follow Eric on Twitter: @EricDSchmid 

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