St. Croix County recycling collected a record amount of hazardous waste during the 2014 Clean Sweep event held in May. According to Jon Tulman, recycling specialist, 375 participants brought in 28,766 pounds of oil paints, solvents, pesticides, fertilizers, old fuels, batteries, mercury devices, and other materials.
The participants included 11 businesses, 12 farms and 352 households.
St. Croix County held its first collection in 1989 – one of the first ever in Wisconsin – and has sponsored Clean Sweeps every year since with the exception of 1990 and 1992. From 1989 – 1997 and again from 2011 – 2014, there has been one collection each year, while from 1998 – 2010 there were both spring and fall events.
All told, St. Croix County has had 37 Clean Sweep programs and the 28,766 pounds collected this year is the largest amount for any single year. It is 22% more than what was brought in last year, and is 85% more than the average of 15,549 pounds collected annually throughout the program’s history.
Over the years, there have now been 10,009 participants who have now safely disposed of just under 290 tons of hazardous materials.
Tulman noted that although St. Croix County has made great progress in keeping these hazardous materials out of landfills and waterways, the results from this year show that the need is still present.
“You might think, for example, that by holding these collections for over 25 years, we’ve been able to get rid of a lot of previously stockpiled chemicals. That’s true to a large extent but this year’s data show that these dangerous products are still around in great quantities.”
He also said that that the staff had one surprise this year when a farmer brought in 12 bottles of DDT, a pesticide that was banned in the United States back in 1972.