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Living the Green Life

Be a Friend of the Environment: June 2022

Grabbing a couple of gallons of paint at your local hardware store this summer to give your room a "new look"? Once complete, you may find yourself wondering what to do with the extra paint. You will be glad to learn about the new "Post Consumer Paint Collection Program."

can of used paint with brushes and a green background
Brush up on how to dispose of household waste -- including paint.

Paint drop-off sites for the collection, reuse, and recycling of unused architectural paint. This New York State Post-consumer Paint Collection Program took effect May 1, 2022.
"Architectural paint" includes interior and exterior architectural coatings sold in containers of five gallons or less, including house paint and primers (latex or oil-based), stains, deck and concrete sealers, and clear finishes (e.g., varnishes, shellacs).

Other Waste

You can also drop off these other household wastes for recycling and disposal:

  • Waste tires can be brought to a tire services center as long as they are approximately the same size and quantity of new tires you purchased there. This is valid until December 31, 2022, unless extended. The Waste Tire and Recycling Fund includes a recycling fee of $2.50 per new tire sold - this includes tires on new motor vehicles.
  • Lead-acid battery for recycling to a retailer at the time you purchase a new one. This is under the Lead-acid Battery Recycling Law that requires retailers and distributors who sell lead-acid batteries to accept used batteries from customers. If you do not return a used battery when buying a replacement, you will be charged a $5 "return incentive payment." The retailer who sold you the battery will refund the $5 payment if you return a used battery within 30 days of the purchase date of the new battery. Please note that illegally disposing of a lead-acid battery can result in a civil penalty of $50 for each violation.
  • Prescription drugs. Check in your area for pharmacies and other locations which may take back unused prescriptions with convenient drop-off boxes. Drop-off boxes typically do not include medical sharps and items such as used inhalers. Find a New York State medication drop-off box location near you.
  • Do-it-yourself (DIY) used oil. An individual can return up to 5 gallons per day at qualifying businesses at no charge. DIY used oil is generated by individuals performing maintenance on their personal vehicles or equipment. New York State law requires retailers who don't service vehicles but sell at least 1,000 gallons of new oil per year to either accept used oil from the public, as service establishments do, or contract to have another service or retail establishment accept it on their behalf. Some municipalities in New York State also collect DIY used oil as part of their Household Hazardous Waste program. Remember, it is against the law to improperly dispose of used oil.
  • CFL light bulbs. At retail establishments, such as hardware stores, which may offer drop-off boxes. While not legally mandated, such drop offs are frequently provided as a public service. Fluorescent (CLFs, tubes, etc.), High-intensity discharge (HID), Neon, Mercury vapor, High pressure sodium, and Metal halide bulbs and lamps may be considered hazardous waste based on the materials they contain. Fluorescent lamps are often hazardous wastes due to their mercury content. For more recycling alternatives - visit the Recycle Right New York website (leaves DEC's website).
two drop boxes for the DEC safe medication disposal program
Safely discard medicines -- look for a drop-off box near you!

Disposal procedures for certain items can vary by municipality or waste pick-up company. Check with your local municipality or disposal company if you are unsure of how to properly dispose of a certain item in your area. DEC also provides additional information on the disposal of household hazardous wastes and recycling. Remember to check for local household waste disposal/recycling events in your area.

Did you know that?

  • About 10% of all paint sold each year will not be used based on EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) findings. Remember, certain (but not all) paints are considered household hazardous waste- do not dump any paint down drains. Dispose of qualifying paints properly through the Post Consumer Paint Take Back Collection Program and help keep our state's waters clean.
  • Motor oil is typically recycled into new lubricating oil and other petroleum-based products.
  • Certain light bulbs contain mercury which can be harmful to people, animals, and our environment. If a bulb, such as a CFL breaks, mercury can be released. Clear the room of occupants and let it air out. It is also advisable to turn off the heat, ventilation, and air-conditioning to isolate and control the vapor.

Be a friend of the environment

What's in store -- consumers can take certain household items back to participating stores for proper recycling or disposal, items include:

Remember to take back items no longer used to help waste reduction.

Clean and groom your pet. If you must use commercial flea
and tick care -- dispose of the products properly.

Find your match - do you know that matches are less costly and their use is more beneficial to the environment than lighters? Disposable lighters should go in the garbage when completely empty. If filled, they should be regarded as hazardous waste. Also, be careful with fires because they can affect our air quality -- they always should be tended to and remember to learn before you burn.

Make a clean break - purchase environmentally friendly cleaners. Chemical cleaners should never be flushed or placed down drains. You can make your own natural cleaners with things such as vinegar, baking soda, castile soap and more. Doing so can save you money and help protect our environment.

Stick with water-based glues - adhere to buying water-based glues because they can go in the garbage. Solvent-based glues are often flammable or toxic and should be disposed of properly as hazardous waste.

Pet protection - do not put flea or tick products down the drain or in the garbage. They should be disposed of as hazardous waste. Be proactive and reduce your dependency on such products by keeping your pet clean and groomed. Also, vacuum your home regularly - especially during tick seasons. Read more about how to be tick free.

Sharp items-- make sure you properly dispose of sharp items such as knives and razors. Doing so protects recycling and other waste disposal workers. Put such items in a lidded container -- make sure to seal the lid and then tape it securely shut. Label the container "Sharp Items" and then you can place such items in the trash. If you are uncertain of disposal protocols in your area, check with local recycling and disposal providers. Please note that medical sharps such as epi-pens, syringes, and more should be disposed of safely using guidelines provided by the NYS Safe Sharps Collection Program (leaves DEC's website). Check locally for details on how to safely dispose of medical sharps, and other medical items such as empty inhalers, in your community. DEC recommends that self-administered medications with needles, or "sharps," be disposed of at hospital-based collection programs. Every hospital in New York State (except federal facilities) is required to collect sharps from households. Learn more about how to dispose of medical sharps safely.

Do you have a household item to reuse, repurpose, recycle, or dispose of that is not listed here? Then check out the Recycle Right New York Recyclopedia (leaves DEC's website) for more products and guidance.

Visit this page next month when we explore ways to protect our air. Remember to reduce, reuse, repurpose, and recycle when possible and dispose of household waste properly. Share your tips and ideas to keep Living the Green Life with us at #LiveGreenNY.

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