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During spring cleaning time, we’ve all come across stuff with the toxic CAUTION label looming. It’s tempting to just throw it away. Problem is, dangerous reactions can happen when hazardous chemicals are combined—not to mention the effects of pollution on our land and sea creatures and, in turn, us humans. Just one quart of oil can contaminate 250,000 gallons of water. And here in Charlottesville, 70 percent of our rivers, lakes, streams do not meet federal and state water quality standards! Everything we flush, put down the sink or drain, on our lawns, ends up being treated and put back into our waterways.
According to Robbi Savage, Executive Director of the Rivanna Conservation Society, one of the most important ways to help is to properly dispose of prescriptions and household hazardous waste.
The city and county will continue Household Hazardous Waste disposal service this spring: for residents, Saturday, April 14 (I've heard they are STRICT with their hours: 9am-2pm). Amnesty collection days for Bulky Waste will follow on the Saturdays of April 21 (furniture/mattresses), May 5 (appliances), and May 12 (tires), which contain flame retardant, freon, and other chemicals unfit for regular trash cans. See rswa.avenue.org/household.htm for the list of items accepted.
CFL bulbs? HHW Day, Lowe’s, and Vanderlinde Recycling accept them.
Partially empty or full paint cans? Vanderlinde Recycling or the Ivy MUC (materials utilization center) location.
Nail Polish: EPA considers this a household hazardous waste. Bring it out to HHW Day.
Never mix used motor oil, antifreeze, gasoline, paint, paint thinner, pesticides, solvents or other potentially hazardous liquids together. Of course, never pour them into the ground or storm sewer.
As for prescription drugs: Most grocery store pharmacies now sell an 8 x 11 envelope ($2.99) to place leftover or out-of-date prescriptions. Or you can wait until National Take Back Prescription Day on April 28. Call ahead to see if your favorite pharmacy is participating. (Details at Environmental Return System: www.sharpsinc.com) To find Cville locations for 2012 take back day check the National Take Back Initiative on this WEBSITE
Hope that helps!