Clean Sweep offers home for hazardous waste during moving season
By Nora Hertel | Tue, 08/14/2012 - 11:23am
Moving vans in the streets and furniture piles on the curbs mark Madison’s annual moving season. With many leases changing hands in mid-August for the impending fall semester, students and community members often purge their houses this time of year of unwanted electronics and household products.
But many of those products contain parts that can be recycled and chemicals that don’t belong in landfills. The city and county offer services to properly dispose of these items.
Take mercury, for example, “It’s not supposed to get into the landfill and we’re there to stop that from happening,” said Dave Radisewitz, hazardous waste coordinator for the Dane County Clean Sweep program.
Mercury can be found in batteries and florescent bulbs. In landfills, this chemical and others can seep into ground water or soil. Radisewitz explained that a city ordinance requires any vendor selling fluorescent bulbs to collect and recycle used bulbs.
Clean Sweep will take rechargeable batteries, along with non-empty aerosol cans, fertilizer with pesticides, oil or solvent-based paint, solvents, and fuels, among other products.
The Clean Sweep site is located at 2302 Fish Hatchery Road in Madison. It's open Tuesday through Saturday, 7 a.m. through 2 p.m. The collection center is open from May through the end of October and closes for the winter. Clean Sweep can’t take all hazardous or recyclable items, but staff will direct people to the right drop-off point.
“I’ll tell you how to get rid of all the things we don’t take,” said Radisewitz.
Clean Sweep will not take electronics at this time, but the city hosts drop-off sites for appliances and computers. Many items such as hard drives, scanners, and VCRs are free to drop off. Monitors, laptops, and televisions all incur a $10 fee. Other organizations, like Best Buy and Goodwill, offer electronic collection programs as well.
Clean Sweep hosts product exchanges for “the stuff that comes in that’s perfectly useable,” Radisewitz said. People who drop off items to recycle can pick up partially used materials for their homes.
For movers getting rid of or exchanging other reusable items, a final “Donate & Take Event” will take place Thursday, August 16 at 214 North Brooks Street on the UW-Madison campus.
Reusing non-hazardous materials helps keep unnecessary waste out the landfills. Clean Sweep exists to keep the hazardous materials out of the landfill as well.
The ultimate goal is “to make sure that hazardous materials that people generate are disposed of properly,” said Radisewitz, “to avoid environmental exposure.”
For more specifics on the recycling of hazardous materials click here.
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