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Hazardous Wastes Get Trashed

Paints, pesticides and chemical cleaners were among the items Westport Public Works employees sorted Saturday during the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day at the Westport Weston Health District.

In just five hours, public works employees and Care Environmental Corp. workers unloaded household hazardous waste from 266 cars, said Chris Kiosse of the Department of Public Works.

"Last year, we saw 340 cars, but this was a good turnout," Kiosse said.

Held once a year in Westport, the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day gives residents the opportunity to go through their homes and get rid of, in an environmentally safe manner, any general household hazardous materials they don't need or want.

Because such waste is defined as toxic, flammable, reactive or corrosive, Frank Milano, an employee with Care Environmental Corp.—a New Jersey-based company contracted to dispose of the waste— said common disposal of such items is not safe.

"You don't want to throw this stuff in the trash or down the toilet because it can re-enter the environment," Milano said. "That's the purpose of the collection days. People can bring in their household hazardous waste to be disposed of, free of charge."

The items accepted at the collection included gasoline, kerosene, oil-based paints, paint strippers, paint thinners, herbicides, pesticides, bleach, cleaning chemicals, drain cleaners and mercury thermometers.

All liquid items were poured into steel barrels and solids were tossed in plastic-lined boxes, Milano said. Most of the items will be incinerated at an environmental center. But the waste generated from these materials, such as paint cans and plastic bottles or containers, can be recycled.

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