Smithtown collects 44 tons of household hazardous waste

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More than 44 tons of hazardous household materials were discarded at Smithtown's recent waste collection event, officials said.

Officials said 435 families participated on Saturday, bringing materials to the town municipal services facility in Kings Park.

Collected items included paint thinners, gasoline, liquid mercury, banned pesticides, acids, flammable solids and various toxic compounds.

Such items will be sent to safe disposal sites, officials said. Improper disposal of hazardous materials can harm both the environment and a person's health.

"Participating in a household hazardous waste collection event allows people to safely dispose of old chemicals," Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said in a news release. "It also heightens awareness that not everything offered for sale is a good thing to have and use around the house."

Vecchio said consumers should "minimize or avoid buying toxic products."

Russell Barnett, town environmental protection director, said the town has been doing hazardous household disposal events for four years. If people throw away such materials, he said, "they can injure the workers who are sent out to collect the garbage" and "there can be a release of some of the chemicals to the environment."

Care Environmental Corp. of Landing, N.J., won the bid to collect and dispose of the materials, costing Smithtown $11,900. Officials said the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will reimburse the town half of the cost.

Another collection event is scheduled for next spring and will be announced in December.

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