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September 13, 2007

Illinois EPA announces fall 2007 Household Hazardous Waste collection schedule
Collections planned for ten Illinois communities in September and October, IEPA also collecting unused and unwanted pharmaceuticals and prescription drugs

SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott announced today that the Illinois EPA will host ten household hazardous waste collections, to be held across the state, starting Saturday, September 22. 

“We estimate more than 10,000 households will be served through these events this fall,” said Director Scott.  “In partnership with local communities and organizations, this program gives Illinois homeowners the opportunity to dispose of common household products that are potentially hazardous.”

The program, which began in 1988, has already served 380,667 households.  Since the program’s inception, 429 one-day events have been held, and 74, 396 fifty-five gallon drums of toxic materials have been collected from Illinois citizens.

The collections give citizens the opportunity to safely dispose of unused or leftover household products commonly found in homes, basements and garages statewide.  The materials are handled in an environmentally sound manner, diverting them from landfills and waterways.

“The program is beneficial not only to citizens who are able to get potentially harmful chemicals out of their homes, but it also benefits the environment by keeping them out of landfills by using various treatment technologies and recycling.” said Director Scott. 

Citizens are encouraged to bring, oil-based paints, thinners, chemical cleaners, antifreeze, motor oil, gasoline, kerosene, weed killers, insecticides, pesticides, adhesives, hobby chemicals, household batteries and similar products.  Fluorescent and other high-intensity discharge lamps may also be brought to the collections.  Residents are also encouraged to bring mercury and mercury containing products such as fever thermometers, old thermostats and elemental mercury, as part of an effort to reduce the amount of this hazardous material in our environment. 

The Illinois EPA is also collecting unused and unwanted pharmaceuticals to prevent them from being flushed down the drain and ending up in a water source that may ultimately become a drinking water supply.  Studies have linked hormone exposure to reproductive defects in fish, and environmental exposure to antibiotics can lead to the development of drug-resistant germs.  (Please see attached fact sheet for more information.)

Items not accepted include explosives, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, medical waste, sharps, agricultural chemicals and all business wastes.  Propane tanks and lead acid auto batteries cannot be accepted at most of the events, but should be taken to local recyclers.  The public is encouraged to find alternative uses for latex paint since it is not considered hazardous.       

Fall 2007 Collection Schedule and Co-sponsors

One-day collections are from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  on scheduled Saturdays

9/22 Carlinville High School
829 West Main Street, Carlinville Macoupin County Macoupin County Health Department
9/29 Waste Water Treatment Plant
1000 N.  Mitchell Avenue, Robinson Crawford County City of Robinson, Marathon Ashland Petroleum
10/6 Boone County Highway Department
9759 Ill.  Route 76, Belvidere Boone County Boone County
10/6 Interstate Center
2301 West Market Street, Bloomington McLean County Ecology Action Center, McLean County, U of I Extension
10/13 Northeastern Illinois University (Parking Lot) 5500 N.  St.  Louis, Chicago Cook County Chicago Department of Environment
10/13 Stephenson County Fairgrounds
2250 South Walnut Road, Freeport Stephenson County Stephenson County
10/20 Triton College (Northwest Parking Lot)
2000 Fifth Avenue, River Grove Cook County West Cook County Solid Waste
10/20 Franklin County Highway  Department
13613 Oddfellow Lane, Benton Franklin County Franklin County
10/27 Oak Forest Public Works
159th St & Lorel Avenue, Oak Forest Cook County Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
10/27 Maine Township Town Hall
1700 Ballard Road, Park Ridge Cook County Maine Township

For questions concerning the collections, please call 217/785-8604.  The schedule and other collection information can also be found on the Agency’s web site: www.epa.state.il.us
In addition, the following long-term facilities are available for disposal of household hazardous waste: 
(Please phone ahead to determine availability and operating hours.)

Naperville: 1971 Brookdale Road
Fire Station No.  4
Phone: 630/420-6700 #7559 Rockford: 3333 Kishwaukee
Rock River Reclamation District
Phone 815/967-6737
Lake County: The Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO) operates a long-term household chemical waste collection program.  Information and a collection schedule can be found on the SWALCO Web site at www.co.lake.il.us/swalco/, or by calling 847/336-9340.
Chicago:   Located at 1150 N. North Branch, on Goose Island.  Visit the city's web site at: www.cityofchicago.org or you may phone 311, or for general info call 312-744-7672.

# # #


Disposing of Unwanted/Unused Pharmaceuticals
The common practice of flushing pharmaceuticals down the drain is no longer considered a desirable method of disposing unused pharmaceuticals. Wastewater treatment plants and septic systems are not designed to treat pharmaceutical waste and the drugs often end up in our waterways, and ultimately in our drinking water. Recent studies have found traces of painkillers, estrogen, antidepressants, blood-pressure medicines, etc., in water samples from 30 states. Studies have linked hormone exposure to reproductive defects in fish, and have linked environmental exposure to antibiotics to the development of drug-resistant germs.
Many public health and safety regulations apply to the disposal of unused pharmaceuticals, and the Illinois EPA is working with stakeholders to find convenient and environmentally responsible ways to manage waste pharmaceuticals.
Waste pharmaceuticals include over-the-counter and prescription medications, controlled substances and personal care products. These wastes come in the form of solid pills and capsules, creams, liquids and aerosols. Pharmaceuticals intended for pets should be treated the same as those prescribed to humans.
Illinois EPA Recommended Handling/Disposal Options for Households
1. REDUCE pharmaceutical waste whenever possible:
o Use all antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor. Not using all doses of an antibiotic could lead to development of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria.
o Buy an amount that can reasonably be used before the expiration date.
o Ask your doctor to prescribe only enough to see if a new medication will work for you and in the lowest dose advisable.
2. DISPOSE of the remainder properly.
o Whenever possible, take your unused pharmaceuticals to a pharmaceutical collection program or event..  Illinois EPA sponsors household hazardous waste collections. Scheduled collection events can be found at http://www.epa.state.il.us/land/hazardous-waste/household-haz-waste/hhwc-schedule.html.  Note: If you choose to store your waste while you wait for a pharmaceutical collection event, please minimize the risk of accidental poisoning or overdose by storing medications out of reach of children or in a locked cabinet
o If you dispose of your unused pharmaceuticals in the trash, be sure to do the following:
? remove or mark over all labels that identify the materials as pharmaceuticals or that could provide personal information about you, including prescription information;
? render them unattractive to children and thieves by dissolving them in a small amount of water or alcohol, or by grinding them up with coffee grounds or kitty litter;
? put them in a secondary container or small plastic bag and hide them in your trash.
o Never burn pharmaceuticals or personal care products in a burn barrel. Uncontrolled burning can create dioxins and other toxic air pollutants.


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