The Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority (HRRA) conducted a spring regional household hazardous waste collection project on Saturday, May 17, at the town public works garage at Turkey Hill Road.
HRRA Director Cheryl Reedy said last week that regional residents drove 720 vehicles to the collection project to dispose of their waste.
That participation represents a 46 percent increase from the 493 vehicles that were driven to the event last year, she said
By far, the greatest percentage of users — 389 vehicles or 54 percent — were Newtown residents, she said.
The other regional participating towns were Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, Redding, and Ridgefield.
The largest amount of collected material, by volume, was paint, both latex and oil-based.
In total, HRRA collected enough paint to fill 54 cubic yards of boxes.
HRRA also collected 22 55-gallon drums of pesticides, both liquid and solid; five cubic yards of boxes of aerosols; 22 55-gallon drums of corrosives; two 5-gallon pails of mercury; eight 55-gallon drums of oxidizing liquids and solids; 19 55-gallon drums of flammable liquids, and smaller amounts of other hazardous items.
Ms Reedy said that this year was the first year that HRRA was able to accept both latex and oil-based paints under the state’s new paint disposal program, which took effect last July.
Under that program, the paint manufacturers pay to manage leftover paint.
Thus, the cost of recycling and disposal of nonrecyclable paint from the May 17 collection program is being covered by the paint manufacturers, rather than the participating towns, Ms Reedy said.
Residents who want to dispose of leftover paint during the year when there is not a hazardous waste collection available can go to paintcare.org and enter their zip code or town name to bring up a list of participating hardware and paint retail stores in the area that are participating in the paint disposal program. Such retailers accept paint from residents throughout the year at no charge.
HRRA started its hazardous waste collection project in Newtown in the spring of 2006.
Costs for such events are covered by the six participating municipalities, based on the number of vehicles dropping off from each town.
The six towns also work together on a second event every year which is held on the last Saturday in September in Danbury. Additional information is available at hrra.org.