Hazardous waste is any unwanted or spent product that can catch fire easily (flammable), eat away at or irritate living tissue (corrosive), react violently with water or other chemicals (reactive), or is poisonous to humans and animals (toxic). This waste must be disposed of properly.
Putnam County received a grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) to build a permanent household hazardous waste (HHW) collection facility. The new HHW facility is now open Monday through Friday from 8 am to noon. This is a convenient way for residents to safely dispose of toxic waste that should not go into the household garbage. It replaces the HHW annual event previously provided to residents from past years as the only method to dispose of hazardous waste. The new facility is located at 2101 West Jackson Street, Cookeville, TN, beside the Cookeville Brush Yard. If you have a question about what can be taken to the HHW facility, please call Martin at 931-400-0622.
The hazardous waste facility collects the following hazardous materials: household cleaners — e.g. oven cleaners, wood and metal cleaners and polishers, toilet bowl cleaners, disinfectants and drain openers; automotive products — e.g. fuel and oil additives, grease and rust solvents, carburetor and fuel injector cleaners, air conditioning refrigerants, starter fluids, body putty, antifreeze/coolant, contaminated motor oil and gasoline; home maintenance and improvement products — e.g. paint thinners, paint strippers and removers, and adhesives; lawn and garden products — e.g. herbicides, pesticides/rodenticides, fungicides, wood preservatives; and miscellaneous items — e.g. lithium, rechargeable and button batteries, fingernail polish remover, pool chemicals, photo processing chemicals, reactive material, aerosols/compressed gas, fluorescent light bulbs and tubes.
Materials that will not be collected include: latex paint, automotive batteries, antifreeze, used oil/filters, medical sharps/pharmaceuticals or waste, ammunition, explosives or radioactive materials. These can be recycled elsewhere: 1) automotive batteries, antifreeze and used oil/filters can be recycled at county convenience centers located around the county or at the Putnam County Recycling Center. 2) Needles and sharps. To dispose of them properly, make sure they are in an impenetrable container to prevent accidental sticks. A plastic laundry detergent bottle is an acceptable container. Make sure the lid is closed tightly. Take to a pharmacy for disposal or throw labeled and secure container into the household garbage. 3) Expired medication. Take to a pharmacy or the Cookeville Police Department for disposal. 4) Latex paint. Dry latex paint completely and then put into the household garbage. Wet paint cannot go into the household garbage.
Hazardous waste can be reduced to a minimum by only buying the amount of a product needed for immediate use. Better yet, try to find an environmentally safer product to substitute for the hazardous one. Always use the product according to the directions on the label. If you have purchased more than needed, give it to someone else who can use it. When purchase of chemicals is required, keep chemicals in original, labeled containers for proper identification and store waste out of reach of children or pets.
Disposing of hazardous waste by burning, dumping onto the ground or down the sink, or putting in the trash can or directly into the landfill is not acceptable. Those methods can cause irreversible environmental damage to the air or groundwater and can even contribute to injury or death for others through accidental exposure. Always dispose of hazardous waste properly to help keep city, county, state, nation and earth from becoming polluted.