The annual Household Hazardous Waste Day was June 25, 2016 at the Orcas Transfer Station. Many community members gathered their hazardous materials and brought a total of 20,905 pounds of these potentially dangerous substances to the transfer station for proper disposal!
Our neighbors on San Juan and Lopez also participated on their own islands and collected 20,742 pounds and 9,462 pounds of hazardous waste, respectively. This is great news for the islands and the environment!
Products are hazardous in different ways based on their specific danger. A product, like a pesticide, is “toxic” because it causes illness. “Flammable” means the product burns easily, like paint thinner. Waste that is “corrosive,” like oven cleaner, eats through other materials. A hazardous item might also be “reactive,” because it causes a dangerous reaction when exposed to heat, air, or water.
Hazardous waste is a serious concern, especially on an island. When in doubt, look for labels that emphasize these words: combustible, warning, caution, danger, harmful if swallowed, and keep out of reach of children and pets.
Unfortunately, there is only one time per year when hazardous waste can be disposed of in the San Juan Islands. ORS plans to keep working with the County on a way to improve the frequency and convenience of this service for islanders because it is so important for protecting our local environment.