Athens-Hocking Residents Line Up for Hazardous Waste Drop-Off

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Update 5/22/19: According to the Athens-Hocking Solid Waste District, an estimated 437 vehicles dropped off waste Saturday.  This included 3.3 tons of electronic waste, 1/2 ton of books, 8.2 tons of disposable items and .6 tons of household recycling.  Household waste and scrap metal are yet to be fully weighed.

Athens and Hocking County residents lined up in their cars Saturday morning at Ohio University’s Convocation Center for the annual hazardous and household waste drop-off.

The Athens-Hocking Solid Waste District puts on the event every year, alternating between Athens and Hocking Counties.  Acceptable items for drop-off included gasoline, bleach and fertilizers among many other hazardous household materials.

Drop-offs ran from 9am through 1pm, with many residents waiting for upwards of an hour to dispose of their waste.  Jonathan Maffay was one of these residents — who while appreciating the event itself, was disappointed with the long wait.

“I’ve been sitting here for twenty minutes and I’ve moved twenty feet,” said Maffay. “They haven’t set this up very well this is not very organized. Great idea, but needs some better organization.”

Cars lined up to drop-off hazardous waste at the Convocation Center

While the long lines did pose as an inconvenience for some residents, the Hocking County Health Department’s Environmental Director Wendy Hanna insists that events like Saturday’s are needed.

“I’m really glad that so many people took advantage of it.  We’re always trying to encourage people to buy less chemicals,” said Hanna. “These chemicals affect everybody.  So it’s better if we have less of them and take advantage of these free drives where we can get rid of them.”

The United States Environmental Protection Agency warns that children, pregnant women and pets are the most vulnerable to hazardous materials, as they proportionally breathe in more air, eat more food and drink more fluids than the average adult — and when hazardous materials are disposed of improperly, the risk of contamination rises. Doug Fisher, Hocking County’s Health Commissioner stresses the importance of properly disposing of those materials.

“I think it’s just important that people know how to get rid of their hazardous waste properly for health reasons,” said Fisher. “By exposing ourselves to these chemicals and toxins, it’s just dangerous for us to be around those.  So it’s just important for people to find a proper way to get rid of them.”

Next year’s hazardous and household waste drop-off will be held in Hocking county, before moving back to Athens in 2021.  Official numbers on the amount of waste collected are yet to be published.