Every third Saturday in August, since 2007, the conservation districts in Manistee, Mason, and Oceana Counties offer three collection sites for the community to safely dispose of household hazardous waste (HHW) and agricultural pesticides. Each location also collects pharmaceuticals, batteries, recyclable oil, oil-based paints, electronics and appliances from households. The HHW project takes year-long planning and a dedicated committee of conservation district staff and volunteers for a successful collection day. Throughout the year leading up to the HHW collection, the committee requests funding allocations, manage outreach activities, hire professional waste disposal or recycling services, and gather volunteers and supplies needed for the collection day. During collection day, committee members help supervise each of the three sites to make sure the event runs smoothly. The HHW project would not be possible without the dedicated committee members and numerous volunteers that work hard every year for a successful event.
The HHW collection has continued to be successful since the initial year of the program in 2007. The amount of waste collected in 2018 for the three-county area is 61,000 pounds higher since the initial year of the event. For the 2018 collection day, Mason, Manistee, and Oceana Counties collected 115,000 pounds of hazardous waste from 900 households. HHW collected in 2018, among the three counties include:
- 601 pounds pharmaceuticals
- 2,088 pounds recycled auto batteries
- 6,245 pounds pesticides
- 16,697 pounds recycled oil
- 16,773 pounds oil-based paints
- 31,475 pounds hazardous waste
- 36,166 pounds electronics and appliances
This amounts to an average of $82 per car to cover the cost of disposal. Total program expenses for 2018 exceeded $68,000.
Every year, the three conservation districts, Mason, Manistee, and Oceana, request allocations from each township and municipality based on a $0.37 per capita rate. In addition, each county allocates $5,000-$7,000 annually. HHW is also funded through a grant from Occidental Chemical Corp. (OxyChem), and generous donations from AFFEW, Hamlin Lake Preservation Society, Pere Marquette Watershed Council, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, and of course the residents that participate in HHW. All of these donations are greatly appreciated and are very important for the continued succcess of the HHW collection. Without this continued support, this event would not be possible.
Due to the rising costs of disposal and the amount of hazardous waste being collected, the conservation districts are looking for additional funds to help cover expenses for future collection days. Districts hope to request a slight increase to the request allocations from each township and municipality, which would generate a large impact overall. The conservation districts are also asking for continued support and donations from the community that participate in the HHW collection days.
The community’s continued support and donations are extremely important for the continued success of the HHW event. If you would like to donate towards the 2019 HHW collection day, click the Donate to HHW button above. Every donation is appreciated!
If you would like to volunteer for future HHW collection days, please contact the Mason-Lake Conservation District at (231) 757 – 3707 ext. 5.