Old paint, batteries, pesticides, solvents, and even used paper was given a chance to be recycled or disposed of properly at the Toxic Round Up Sept. 15 at the fire hall.
According to Fire Chief Ted Dillon the Ponoka Fire Department has been organizing these annual toxic round ups for approximately 20 years.
It first started with the Rotary Club, who made use of a government grant, and Dillon helped set up the location.
“We thought the fire hall is a good place to do it,” said Dillon. “As time went on we ended up taking it over because it is a need for the community.”
The amount of product coming in has not dissipated much over the years and it keeps the volunteer fire department and residents busy when it is held.
Many county and town residents are able to dispose of their household toxic waste as well as paper, which is in its third year with the round up.
Paper Cuts owner Peter Kocher does not charge for his on-site paper shredding service during the round up. “We just do it as a community service.”
He feels the benefit of shredding on his truck is more of a security for clients.
“Once it gets to here, you’re done…it’s more secure,” stated Kocher.
His paper is sent to either Ontario or the United States to a pulp mill for recycling where they make either paper or toilet paper depending on the quality of recycled materials.
The company handling the other waste is Clean Harbors from Red Deer that bought out Envirosort several years ago. Clean pack specialist Tim Powell said the company still runs Envirosort’s banner because of the amount of community round ups the company assists with.
Paint is sent to a company in Edmonton where it is blended with peat moss and sawdust. Once the flammable contents of the paints evaporate it is then sent to a landfill designated for this kind of material. All chemicals are sent to the Red Deer plant where they are categorized and separated and eventually sent to Swan Hills to be incinerated.
According to Powell, recycling chemicals can be a challenge. He feels some chemicals such as soap can be used before having to dispose of.
“Give it to somebody who needs it,” he suggests.
The company keeps busy with approximately 70 community round ups per year. “We’re busy almost every weekend until October and we start up again in March.”
Among some of the other waste brought in are mercury, old fire extinguishers and aerosol cans.
There were 15 barrels of paint this year, one up from 2011 and although not all the numbers were in, volunteers were kept busy throughout the day.