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City facility keeps harmful chemicals from area landfills

Staff photo / Allie Vugrincic Justin Simmons of Warren, left, and Geauga-Trumbull Solid Waste Management District operations coordinator Andrew Thomas grab items out of a residents trunk to be properly disposed during a drop-off day at the District’s Enterprise Drive facility in Warren.

WARREN — Some things don’t belong in landfills, according to Jennifer Jones, director of the Geauga-Trumbull Solid Waste Management District.

“A lot of people don’t realize that electronics and appliances, they have things in them — chemicals — that if they get buried into the ground in a regular landfill, they can cause problems years down the road,” Jones said. “For instance, an old-style CRT television, the big tube-type televisions, they’re chock full of lead. Should lead go into the landfill? No, it shouldn’t.”

That’s why the Waste Management District accepts those televisions at its Trumbull Collection Facility at 5138 Enterprise Drive in Warren.

“We make sure that they go someplace that lead gets taken out and gets recycled and reused properly, and all the items inside the television itself, as much can be recycled gets recycled,” Jones said.

The facility also accepts other electronics, like desktop computers, laptops, monitors, keyboards, printers, tablets and e-readers, cables, cellphones and video game systems from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

“Freon”-bearing appliances such as dehumidifiers, freezers, air conditioners and refrigerators also are accepted. Freon is a trademark name used to refer to several different refrigerants, which deplete the ozone layer when they reach the stratosphere.

In 2019, more than 4,600 residents of Trumbull and Geauga counties brought appliances with freon to the collection facility to be safely recycled, according to the Waste Management District’s website.

In addition, appliances that are largely are made of metal, such as washing machines, clothes dryers, hot water heaters, microwaves, ovens, stoves and furnaces are accepted at the Trumbull Collection Facility.

HAZARDOUS WASTE

On Wednesdays through October, the facility also accepts hazardous household waste, including old gasoline and oil, pesticides, oil-based paints and household cleaning supplies.

The Waste Management District contracts with Clean Earth, an environmental waste disposal company.

“They’ll take (hazardous waste) to their facility in Akron or one of their facilities in Detroit for further processing and recycling of the material,” Andrew Thomas, operations coordinator at the Geauga-Trumbull Solid Waste Management District, said.

Clean Earth recycled 283,000 tons of hazardous waste in 2020, according to its website.

Thomas said many of the materials accepted at the Trumbull Collection Facility are not allowed to be placed in landfills in Ohio.

“A lot of these materials will have, like, mercury in it, so you can’t obviously dump it in a landfill. So, we’re creating that outlet so people can responsibly dispose of those materials,” Thomas said.

OTHER ITEMS

While there are items the Waste Management District doesn’t accept, it has suggestions for what to do with those things. Plastic grocery bags, for example, often can be recycled in collection bins at local retailers such as Giant Eagle, Lowe’s, Marc’s, Target or Walmart.

Clothing can be donated via collection bins or at local charities, and scrap metal can be taken to scrap dealers.

Some items, like styrofoam, broken ceramics and disposable cups, can’t be recycled, according to the Waste Management wesbite.

Still, it’s important to recycle what you can.

“Ohio has a lot of landfill space. We have a lot in this area. But it’s not infinite, so we try to keep the things that we can keep out of landfills to preserve that space as long as we can. And especially we keep the things out that could cause environmental problems down the road,” Jones said. “We want to be able to drink our ground water 100 years from now.”

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