How to safely get rid of batteries and other hazardous waste in Oswego County

VOLNEY, NY — The hazardous waste summer program for Oswego County residents returns May 3.

In addition to batteries, the Oswego County Waste Disposal Facility accepts aerosols, gasoline, paint, pesticides, and other hazardous chemicals for free. When pulling up to the facility, residents are asked to stay in their vehicles while staff handle and box up the materials to be disposed.

Since 2009, the program has helped reduce the amount of toxic chemicals in landfills, and it has helped keep chemicals from seeping into bodies of water. Trying to prevent this environmental pollution is the goal for Operations Manager Carl Schmidt.

“Some of these items have a long term environmental impact if they were to get out into the environment,” Schmidt said. “Sometimes we get things like mercury will come in from old switches or old thermostats that if that stuff gets into the environment, it ends up in the water streams it just sticks around for a long time.”

Over the years, Schmidt has seen consistent lines at the waste facility and has dealt with all sorts of toxins, but points out there are a few items people don’t think about recycling.

“Everyone thinks of paints or weed killer and know to bring it here, but they never think of their old television sets that sit in their backyard or on the side of the road with a ‘for free’ sign,” he said. “These old electronics have so many different types of hazardous chemicals inside them and people probably don’t even realize it”.

Although the program only runs from May to September, Schmidt offers to take in old electronics year round.

Operating hours for hazardous waste drop offs are Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.