Ask Waste Watchers: What is accepted at the Wolcott trash facility?
Vail, CO Colorado
Can you publish a list of items that are accepted at the Household Hazardous Waste facility?
George in Edwards
Thank you for the great question, George.
This will be a two-part series listing classes of materials that are accepted at the Hazardous Waste facility, examples of items within each class and why you should dispose of them properly. Keep an eye out for Part 2, which will be in the Vail Daily on June 4.
Explosives: A substance that rapidly and violently releases energy is an explosive. Explosives found around the home are fireworks, ammunition, flares, toy caps, black powder and model-rocket motors. Explosives can start fires or detonate, causing injury or death when disposed of improperly.
Compressed gases: A variety of compressed gases in spray cans or cylinders are commonly found around our homes. Compressed gases, such as propane tanks, spray paint and lighters, can be flammable. Gases can also be toxic, such as bug spray, pepper spray or mace. Other compressed gases such as carbon dioxide are dangerous simply because when punctured, the contents rush out and the container becomes a projectile.
Flammable liquids: Technically, flammable liquids have a flash point below 141 degrees. Practically, if it is liquid and will burn, you should dispose of it properly. Examples include gasoline, rubbing alcohol, diesel fuel, many paints and stains, charcoal lighter fluid, roof tar and others. Paper and other trash soaked in flammable liquids only need a spark to start a fire.
Flammable solids: Flammable solids are materials which ignite by friction, by absorbing moisture or by spontaneous combustion. There are not many examples of these around the home, but matches, moth balls and oily rags are a few. Flammable solids can potentially start fires in your trash can, in the garbage truck or at the landfill.
Oxidizers: Compounds that release oxygen, especially in the presence of a fire, are dangerous because oxygen makes fires burn hotter. Products that are generally considered oxidizers include chlorinating and brominating tablets for swimming pools or hot tubs, tree-stump dissolvers, certain fertilizers and hydrogen peroxide.
Poisons: A vague but pragmatic definition of a poison is a material likely to harm your health. Lawn and garden chemicals designed to kill weeds, grass, bugs or rodents are considered poisons. Used needles and other biohazardous materials are also included in this category. Unwanted or expired medications are treated as poisons, too.
Corrosives: Materials that have the ability to corrode steel, aluminum or human skin are corrosive. Corrosives will either be acidic, such as rust dissolvers, battery acid and muriatic acid, or they will be caustic, such as lye, bleach or ammonia. By definition, these chemicals destroy human tissue and should always be disposed of properly.
Joseph Walls is hazardous-waste specialist at the Eagle County Household Hazardous Waste facility, located at the landfill in Wolcott. The facility is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Call 970-328-3468 or visit http://www.eaglecounty.us/
recyclingwaste for information.