The Environmental Protection and Natural Resources division of Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community’s Community Development Department will host its annual Household Hazardous Waste Collection program for Community members and employees on April 9, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Two Waters Complex north parking lot.
The event is part of the Community’s annual Earth Day celebration, and waste disposal is completely free. Also, employees who participate in the Community’s WellPath Program can earn 25 WellPath points for bringing in their hazardous waste.
“[We will] take any waste that Community members or employees feel is unsafe or uncomfortable to dump at the landfill,” said Carol Hibbard, senior environmental engineer for Environmental Protection and Natural Resources. “If you are not sure about [a waste item] and feel it can contaminate, then you can bring it to the collection; we don’t turn anything away.”
Jeremy Philips, senior environmental specialist in hazardous substances, said that one of the biggest questions people have is what to do with old medicines, because sometimes people are told to flush them down the toilet. That is not a good idea.
“This could contaminate groundwater, and currently we do outreach with the seniors [and at] any public place where members congregate to educate them on this topic. Also, for narcotic medications, the [Hazardous Waste Collection] program will take them and give them to the police department, which then destroys them at an appropriate facility.”
Free pickup of hazardous waste items is available for seniors and the disabled; they can call ahead or sign up at the Senior Center at any time from now through April 8. If someone has waste items that they cannot lift, the program will come out and get them. And, if it is unsafe for someone to take a hazardous waste item to the event, the program recommends that you call for safe pickup, rather than risking a spill on the way there.
Philips mentioned that many hazardous chemicals and items can affect the nervous system. Properly disposing of this waste is important because, rather than contaminating the ground at the landfill, it needs to go into appropriate facilities either to be destroyed or recycled, which is good for the environment.
“Every little bit counts; we want to get these harmful wastes off the Community,” said Hibbard.
“We also want to educate the people about hazardous waste and how it can harm you. If you haven’t used it for three years, then you should get rid of it as soon as you can,” said Philips.
The program will also be having a raffle drawing for participating seniors to win a basket of household items.
For more information about the Household Hazardous Waste Collection program, call (480) 362-7500.