Hey, it’s hazardous waste collection season

Published 10:20 am Thursday, April 4, 2013

Column: Solid Waste Officer, by Randy Tuchtenhagen

We are getting close to the hazardous waste collection season and a review of the program will help everyone get their items to us easily and safely.

This will be the 18th year of the collection program and our biggest success has been the people who volunteer to help run our weekly collections. Without their help we would not be able to do as many collections nor handle the volume of waste. Collections are scheduled from April through September with a collection somewhere in Freeborn County almost every week.

Randy Tuchtenhagen

Randy Tuchtenhagen

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This year we start in the city of Freeborn on April 30. Any resident can bring hazardous materials to any collection in any city during the hours posted. A registration form is required for all items so if you are unable to attend any of the afternoon, evening or Saturday morning collections, have a friend or neighbor bring it for you. There is no charge for disposal.

The list of dates and communities our mobile collection unit visits is listed on this page and on the Freeborn County website under Environmental Services Department, www.co.freeborn.mn.us, and is promoted in the Community News magazine.

We will again host 20 collections in 16 cities throughout the summer. This article is your first notification that you have six months to plan on attending one of the 20 collections so get out there and clean up that old paint, chemicals, pesticides and other hazardous materials. You saved them long enough and it would be best to get rid of them before the containers start leaking or spill.

Unfortunately our program is not licensed to accept waste from a commercial business. Households only. If your business has hazardous materials that need disposal, contact our office for assistance in finding options. The rules for lab packing, labeling and transportation are different than that for households and we do not currently have funding nor licensure for a larger program.

What not to bring is equally important for everyone. We do not like sending items back home with people but on occasion there are things brought to us we cannot take. Explosives are definitely high on that list. We do not take electronics at the hazardous waste collections. They have their own collection schedule.

Motor oil is another item we do not accept and should be taken to automotive businesses or the Albert Lea transfer station for disposal. Medical waste and pharmaceuticals also have their own disposal destination so if you have questions, call our office.editorial

Save yourself some time and effort by not bringing us alkaline batteries. They are not hazardous and should be put into the trash. How do you identify them? They have alkaline written on them, the copper top or Energizer bunny batteries are nearly always alkaline.

A list of things you should bring to hazardous waste collections include, agriculture chemicals, acids, antifreeze, gasoline, solvents, weed and insect poison, old fertilizer, liquid paint, pool chemicals, glue, cleaners, and rechargeable batteries from a motorcycle, car, cellphones, cameras or cordless power tool and stain.

Have a safe summer and don’t procrastinate any longer over that “stuff” you have in the basement or garage.


Randy Tuchtenhagen is the solid waste officer for the Freeborn County Environmental Services Department.