Overview of Cayuga County's Household Hazardous Waste Program
Summary

The fifteenth anniversary of Cayuga County's first Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Event will be in October of 2012.

Over these past 14 years, Cayuga County has held 43 collection events to make the homes, farms and schools in Cayuga County safer. We've removed chemicals for safe disposal, which if not properly handled could threaten human health and the environment. We've removed over 64,000 tires, which would otherwise be mosquito breeding habitat and a fire hazard. We've recycled over 800,000 pounds of electronic equipment, safely removing lead, cadmium, mercury and other toxins from homes and workplaces in the County.

This overview will re-cap when, how and why the County started sponsoring HHW events, plus summarize our results to date.

Bruce R. Natale, P.E.
Environmental Engineer
Cayuga County Department of
Planning and Economic Development



Cayuga County's Typical Year Has Grown to Five Events:

April or May: Earth Week (EW) Event

Normally runs from 9 AM to 1 PM in late April or May. Recent targeted items include home electronics (lead), old propane tanks (fire safety) and fluorescent bulbs (mercury). No appointments necessary, but don't come early or you'll be in a long line!

May or June: Tire Collection Event

We hold this in mid to late Spring to try to beat the first mosquito hatch. The first tire event was originally in response to the West Nile Virus threat in 2003. We have tire size limits because our markets won't take some items. Generally we accept all car tires and pick-up truck tires, either on rims or off rims okay.

September: Back to School "Electronics Plus" Collection Event

Normally runs from 9 AM to 1 PM in September. Recent targeted items include home electronics (lead), old propane tanks (fire safety) and fluorescent bulbs (mercury). No appointments necessary, but don't come early or you'll be in a long line!

October: Household Hazardous Waste Event

This is our big chemical collection for all Auburn and Cayuga County residents. Get your leftover pool chemicals, garden and lawn poisons, paint thinners and your old gas/oil mixes out of your house and garage before winter. Normally, we also collect hazardous non-alkaline batteries, old propane tanks and fluorescent bulbs. You must call for an appointment for this event. To be SAFE, we need to space out the traffic and have a smooth flow in and out of the event. By having appointments we can handle over 500 cars in 5 hours. That's nearly 2 cars unloaded every minute! Our longest line at the entrance is normally only 12 or 14 cars, and our longest wait is about 5 minutes. That is why you need an appointment and that is why you need to try your best to arrive on time. (Believe it or not, someone actually came at 3:10 PM one year when the last appointment was at 1 PM).

November: America Recycles Day

An electronics collection added in 2008 in honor of America Recycles Day, which is every year on November 15th. This is a joint event with the City of Auburn hosting. Our event is normally the second or third Saturday in November close to America Recycles Day (November 15th).

History of Cayuga County's Hazardous Waste Events

During the years we were trying to build support to hold our first HHW event, Cayuga County staff found 100% grant funding to hold a similar event, an agricultural chemical collection event known as a Clean Sweep. So, the County's first hazardous waste event was not the 1997 HHW day, but our 1996 Clean Sweep event. After successfully implementing Clean Sweep 1996, the County Legislature authorized the local contribution to hold our first HHW event the following year.

Since 1997, the County Legislature has authorized the County's Solid Waste Management Program Office to regularly apply for 50% New York State Assistance to conduct these programs. In all, Cayuga County has received over $180,000 in New York State grant funds to conduct its household hazardous waste collections and generally has matched the State dollars one for one. The County has also received assistance from federal sources, the City of Auburn and NUCOR Steel to make these collection programs available to the public.

Cayuga County Clean Sweep Events: Hazardous Chemicals from Agriculture and Schools
  1. CS96: Clean Sweep, November 7, 1996
  2. CS02: Clean Sweep, October 30 and 31, 2002
  3. CS03: Clean Sweep, November 18 and 19, 2003
Cayuga County HHW Events: Hazardous Chemicals from Households
  1. HHW97: Household Hazardous Waste, October 25, 1997
  2. HHW99: Household Hazardous Waste, October 16, 1999
  3. HHW01: Household Hazardous Waste, September 29, 2001
  4. HHW03: Household Hazardous Waste, October 4, 2003
  5. HHW05 Spring: Household Hazardous Waste, May 7, 2005
  6. HHW05 Fall: Household Hazardous Waste, October 15, 2005
  7. HHW06: Household Hazardous Waste, October 14, 2006
  8. HHW07: Household Hazardous Waste, October 13, 2007
  9. HHW08: Household Hazardous Waste, October 4, 2008
  10. HHW09: Household Hazardous Waste, October 3, 2009
  11. HHW10: Household Hazardous Waste, October 16, 2010
  12. HHW11: Household Hazardous Waste, October 22, 2011
After holding HHW events every other fall for four years, the County decided to try a spring Earth Week event in 2002 (EW02). The special targets for that event were all of the propane grill tanks that became obsolete starting April 1, 2002 due to fire safety issues. The County has partnered with NUCOR Auburn to also collect Freon appliances beginning in 2008.

Cayuga County HHW Events: Non-Chemical
  1. EW02: Electronics and Propane Tanks, April 27, 2002
  2. EW03: Electronics and Propane Tanks, April 26, 2003
  3. EW04: Electronics and Propane Tanks, May 1, 2004
  4. EW06: Electronics and Propane Tanks, April 29, 2006
  5. EW07: Electronics, Propane Tanks and Fluorescent Bulbs, May 19, 2007
  6. EW08: Electronics, Propane Tanks, Fluorescent Bulbs, and Freon Containing Appliances, May 17, 2008
  7. ARD08: America Recycles Day, November 15, 2008
  8. EW09: Electronics, Propane Tanks and Fluorescent Bulbs, May 19, 2009
  9. ARD09: Household Hazardous Waste, November 14, 2009
  10. EW10 South: Electronics, Propane Tanks and Fluorescent Bulbs, Scipio, May 1, 2010
  11. EW10 Main: Electronics, Propane Tanks and Fluorescent Bulbs, Natural Resource Center, May 15, 2010
  12. Fall-E10: Electronics, Propane Tanks and Fluorescent Bulbs, Natural Resource Center, September 18, 2010
  13. ARD10: America Recycles Day, November 13, 2010 at City Landfill
  14. EW11 Spring: Electronics, Propane Tanks and Fluorescent Bulbs, Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES, May 14, 2011
  15. Fall-E11: Electronics, Propane Tanks and Fluorescent Bulbs, Natural Resource Center, October 1, 2011
  16. ARD11: America Recycles Day, November 19, 2011 at City Landfill
  17. EW 12 Spring: Electronics, Propane Tanks and Fluorescent Bulbs, Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES, May 12, 2012
  18. Fall-E12: Electronics, Propane Tanks and Fluorescent Bulbs, Natural Resource Center, September 22, 2012
In all, we've safely removed over 1750 drums of chemicals, almost 700,000 pounds of electronics and almost 5000 propane tanks from our community.

The County's Solid Waste Management Program Office also coordinates recycling of electronics and chemical disposal from County agencies. These activities have recycled an additional 100,000 pounds of electronics and numerous drums of hazardous materials.

In addition to our HHW events, we have also sponsored recycling events, particularly for tires, as follows:
  1. Tires03: July 12, 2003
  2. Tires04: May 22, 2004
  3. Tires05: May 14, 2005
  4. Tires06: June 3, 2006
  5. Tires07: June 16, 2007
  6. Tires08: June 21, 2008
  7. Tires09: June 13, 2009
  8. Tires10: June 12, 2010
  9. Tires11: June 11, 2011
  10. Tires12: June 23, 2012
These ten events have safely removed almost 64,000 tires and over 850 pounds of lead from our community and our environment.

Cayuga County has also co-sponsored and/or supported other events for hazardous materials and/or hazardous chemicals, such as the New York State Department of Environmental Clean Sweeps of agricultural and school chemicals in 2005 and 2009, and, the City of Auburn Police and Kinney's Drug Stores prescription drug and medicine collections in 2010, 2011 and 2012.