Clatsop County is moving forward this year with the centerpiece of its Household Hazardous Waste Program — the development of a permanent collection center for the disposal of toxic, flammable and corrosive items.

The facility, targeted for construction at the Astoria Transfer Station in Astoria, will collect hazardous products such as pesticides and herbicides, paint, cleaning solvents and other materials not suitable for disposal with standard household trash. The facility is expected to open in April 2016. As a result of the project, the county will no longer sponsor the yearly household hazardous waste collection events held each May. Until the new collection facility is operating, residents who need to dispose of hazardous products may find other options at www.co.clatsop.or.us.

The household hazardous waste collection facility will be open at least eight times a year to collect waste items from county residents and qualifying small businesses. The center will be funded through a grant from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and a surcharge on garbage collection rates.

Many home and yard products when not completely used up accumulate in our cabinets, garage shelves, or outdoor sheds exposing children and pets to toxic chemicals. Hazardous wastes should not be put down home drains, street storm water drains, discarded in the garbage or poured on the ground.

The dangers of improper disposal may not be immediately obvious, but this pollutes our waters, places harmful chemicals in the sewage/septic systems that aren’t designed to remove chemicals, and exposes waste haulers and fire fighters needlessly to hazardous conditions.

Below are ways to reduce hazards year-round:

• Reduce the amount that may sit in your cupboards by purchasing only what you need.

• Before buying, read the labels so that you can choose to purchase non-toxic products whenever possible.

• Look into green alternative products and give them a try. Most work as well as toxic chemicals and are much safer.

• When storing your hazardous products put them in a safe place away from children and pets, and keep them in their original containers.

• Share unused product with a neighbor or friend to get rid of it all.

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