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Hazardous duty pays dividends

For &

36;5 you can bring all your old hazardous waste ' unused paint, pesticides, pool chemicals, solvents, thinners, fertilizers or almost anything else in your garage that leaves you feeling a little uneasy ' and drop it off at the Jackson County Expo today for proper recycling or disposal.

It's the 12th annual toxic dump-off, and it draws between 500 and 1,000 vehicles with an average of 75,000 pounds of waste. Customers are welcome to leave enough hazardous waste to fill six ordinary, 32-gallon trash cans. After that, you might pay another &

36;5.

This paint has been sitting in my garage for so long, it's really nice to get rid of it, said Norm Lawrence of Central Point.

Randy Seymour of Talent dumped off a couple dozen large cans of road paint, because it starts to harden and won't mix after about a year.

— It's a great thing for our environment, said Shawn Cardin of Central Point, who was getting rid of yard poisons, oil-based stain and batteries that she knew shouldn't go in the normal trash. There's too much toxic stuff being sent to the landfill, where it poisons our soil and water.

Sponsors of the event, Rogue Disposal, Southern Oregon Sanitation, Ashland Sanitary Service and Grants Pass Sanitary, do their best to weed out toxins from normal trash pickup, said Denise Wolgamott, Rogue Disposal recycling coordinator.

Any re-usable waste is put on a free table at the Expo, as long as it doesn't have banned chemicals, is more than half full, isn't in a rusted container and is clearly labeled, said Wolgamott. Usually, you'll find paints, pesticides, insecticides, pool chemicals and cleaners.

The more dangerous stuff is hauled off by Onyx Environmental Hazardous Waste Cleanup of Vancouver, Wash., for disposal at Arlington Chemical Waste Management in Northern Oregon. Gas, oil and antifreeze can be recycled into low-grade fuel for cement kilns, said Vince Brown of Onyx.

Absolutely none of it goes to our landfill, said Wolgamott. That's the whole point: to give people an option to tossing it in the trash or the woods.

Rid yourself of toxins

What

: Hazardous Waste Drop Off.

When

: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.

Where

: Jackson County Expo, Central Point.

Cost

: &

36;5 for first cubic yard.

Open to

: anyone from Jackson and Josephine counties. Business customers were handled on Friday and by appointment.

Accepted waste

: paint (lead or latex), solvents, thinners, pool chemicals, fertilizers, insecticides.

Not accepted

: medical or biological waste, ammunition, explosives, radioactive materials, commercial or industrial waste, fire extinguishers. Some more dangerous items can be accepted at the White City transfer station.

Kevin McGillivray of Portland dumps cans of discarded household paint into a drum during the 12th annual Hazardous Waste Drop Off Friday at the Jackson County Expo in Central Point. The fair continues today. Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell - Mail Tribune Bob Pennell