Governor Bill Haslam and Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau announced Wednesday $680,000 in grants for the continued operation and maintenance of several permanent household hazardous waste facilities throughout Tennessee.
The cities of Chattanooga, Knoxville, Metropolitan Nashville / Davidson County and Memphis (in coordination with Shelby County) will each receive grants totaling $170,000 over the next two years for their permanent HHW collection sites.
“I’m pleased we’re able to provide these grants for facilities that have such a direct benefit to their communities,” Governor Haslam said. “Providing permanent locations for the safe disposal of potentially hazardous materials helps Tennesseans keep their homes safe, minimizes pollution and protects our state’s natural resources.”
The Tennessee General Assembly provides for household hazardous waste assistance through the Solid Waste Management Act of 1991. Grants are supported from the Tennessee Solid Waste Management Fund administered by the Department of Environment and Conservation. The fund receives its revenues from a $0.90 tipping fee surcharge on each ton of solid waste disposed in Class I landfills and from a $1.25 per tire pre-disposal fee on new tires sold in the state.
The average home in Tennessee produces 20 pounds of household hazardous waste each year. Because HHW material is considered flammable, toxic, reactive and/or corrosive, it should not be placed with regular garbage. Typical items to dispose of include cleaning fluids, pesticides, mercury thermometers and thermostats, fluorescent bulbs, lithium batteries, aerosols, adhesives, brake fluid, swimming pool chemicals and paint thinner.
“Even some of the products and materials we use daily can be hazardous to our health and environment if not handled and disposed of properly,” said Mr. Martineau. “Operation and maintenance grants help keep Tennessee’s permanent household hazardous waste collection facilities running.”
Coordinating with local counties and municipalities, TDEC also hosts mobile household hazardous waste collection events across Tennessee each spring and fall for those areas that do not have access to a permanent facility. This service offers communities a safe, environmentally friendly way to dispose of unwanted household chemicals and other potentially hazardous wastes at no cost. Since the program’s inception in 1993, households have properly disposed of more than 20 million pounds of material.
When transporting materials to a collection site, place containers in sturdy boxes lined with newspaper to prevent spills and cross-contamination in the trunk of a car or back of a truck. Be sure to keep materials away from children and pets. Materials should be kept in the original container whenever possible. If not, place the waste in a plastic jug with a secure lid and label its contents.
For more information about TDEC’s Household Hazardous Waste program, call toll free at 800 287-9013 or visit the department’s website at www.tn.gov/environment/swm/hhw.