The RDEK held a hazardous material roundup over the weekend at three sites in Fernie

The RDEK held a hazardous material roundup over the weekend at three sites in Fernie

RDEK collects toxic waste for disposal

Region's first household hazardous waste roundup was a success, as over 450 people got rid of toxins, poisons and other wastes.

The region’s first household hazardous waste roundup was a success over the weekend, as over 450 people utilized the occasion to get rid of toxins, poisons and other wastes.

Organized by the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK), sites were held in Fernie and Invermere on Saturday and Cranbrook on Sunday, as RDEK staff and Newalta employees received all kinds of hazardous material for proper disposal.

“It was great to see the participation in the event and even better to know that we were able to get some of those toxic materials out of people’s basements and off for proper disposal and recycling,” said Loree Duczek, Communications Manager for the RDEK.

It was a chance for people to safely get rid of any hazardous material, and there was plenty of it.

Common items included paint, oil and household cleaners, while other more unusual material included a jar of mercury that had been kicking around since the 1960s to a 45-gallon drum of what Duczek could only refer to as ‘mystery liquid’.

“They had purchased a home and this had been left behind,” said Duczek. “One of them thought it was full of freon, but they weren’t sure because it wasn’t theirs, so we had several large drums of what I can best describe as ‘mystery liquid’.

“We had lots of gas and some acids, and there was just a great range of different products that came in, which was great to see because that’s exactly the reason we had those events, which was to try to get those difficult-to-dispose-of items out of people’s yards and out of their houses and basements into the proper hands for proper disposal.”

Used oil and gas proved to be a popular item, but there are actually year-round depots where those materials can be safely disposed of, according to Duczek.

Though not under the jurisdiction of the RDEK, the B.C. government has provincial stewardship programs in the region, including Cranbrook and Kimberley.

“They cover everything from paint, oils, batteries, electric toothbrushes, scales, stereo systems. There are a number of different programs hundreds of different products that can be recycled in the East Kootenay,” Duczek said.

For example, Duczek said that paint can be recycled at the bottle depot in Cranbrook, while New and Nearly New in Kimberley has the same service.

For used oil and oil filters, Great Canadian Oil Change, Canadian Tire, Petro-Canada, Alpine Toyota and Denham Ford will handle it, while Equicare Mechanical will do the same in Kimberley.

“We certainly want people to be aware of them because if they don’t know, they’ll likely end up in the landfill, and we don’t want to see that, so we’ll definitely continue to try to get the word out,” Duczek added.

The subject of eco-fees may be touchy for some people, but the revenue generated from the fees go right back into the stewardship program that enables the safe and environmentally-friendly disposal of those kinds of materials, she continued.

The RDEK expects to have a summary of the waste types and volumes collected at all three sites by early next week.