San Benito County Integrated Waste Management
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San Benito County residents can safely get rid of non-rechargeable household batteries, paint, mercury thermostats and mattresses at a free recycling event Nov. 4 at Veterans Memorial Park. 

The event, which goes from 9am-1pm, is sponsored by the county’s Integrated Waste Management, which was recently awarded a grant from the California Department of Resources and Recovery (CalRecycle). The purpose of the grant is to expand access to convenient recycling opportunities for household hazardous waste; and to promote and offer incentives to switch to environmentally friendly alternatives such as LEDs, says a press release from the county. 

The press release notes that batteries improperly disposed of in the household trash or recycling can cause fires in trucks and facilities that endanger workers and damage expensive equipment. They must be taken to a designated location for proper recycling. “Recycling batteries is crucial to preventing environmental pollution, conserving natural resources and protecting public health,” says the press release. 

Each year about 800 million gallons of architectural paint are sold in the U.S. Households and businesses generate millions of gallons of leftover paint each year, the release continues. In California, paint is prohibited from disposal in landfills and must be recycled or otherwise safely disposed of. 

Recycling paint guarantees that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other flammable substances in paint are disposed of safely and don’t enter local ecosystems. This keeps soil, water and air free of toxins!

California has a statewide paint recycling program designed and implemented by paint manufacturers with CalRecycle oversight. PaintCare is the manufacturers’ stewardship organization that implements this program and will be at the Nov. 4 Recycle Day event, according to the county. 

Many thermostats sold prior to 2006 contain a glass tube or “switch” of liquid mercury, which is toxic and hazardous to human health. That’s why in the state of California, it is illegal to dispose of a mercury thermostat in the trash.

It is important to handle mercury thermostats with care and dispose of them properly so that the sturdy casing, and the sealed glass bulb inside, remains intact, adds the press release Wear protective gloves to carefully remove the thermostat from your wall and place it inside a sealed clear bag. Do not disassemble or attempt to remove the mercury-containing glass tube inside the thermostat.

“Help build a cleaner, greener community by taking advantage of the free Recycle Day event on Nov.  4 at Veterans Memorial Park, which provides residents of San Benito County a safe and responsible way to dispose of unwanted hazardous items,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Mindy Sotelo. “Together we’ll safeguard our environment and create a sustainable future.”

Veterans Memorial Park is located at 1023 Memorial Drive in Hollister. 

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.

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