Hunterdon NJ sets paint, oil, propane tank and smoke detector recycling


Alan Johnson, country recycling coordinator, calls the special event POPS Day. That's because it's specifically for things starting with those four letters: paint, (motor) oil, propane tanks and smoke detectors.

All sorts of paints and coatings – including latex – will be accepted. The first 10 gallons per resident are at no charge; after that it's $1.49 a pound.

Latex paint can be disposed of with household trash, if it has been dried out. To dry small amounts of latex paint, find a safe area away from pets and kids, remove the lid and let the paint dry in the can.

But people who haven't done that can dispose of the latex paint Saturday, Johnson said.

There is no limit on the amount of used motor oil that will be taken per resident.

And there's no limit on 20-gallon propane tanks, the kind typically used with barbecue grills. Johnson noted that tanks with old-style valves can't legally be refilled. Nor can tanks that were made more than 12 years ago.

After that, the tank must be re-certified with a new date stamped on it, adding five years to the expiration. But the cost and inconvenience of re-certifying almost always outweighs the price of a new tank.

Smoke detectors are hazardous because of the radioactive element they contain which actually senses the smoke. While people can mail old detectors back to their manufacturers for recycling, it's a hassle, Johnson acknowledged.

Many landfills now have radiation detectors at the gates, so if smoke detectors are in with the garbage, an alarm can go off and result in the load being rejected, he said.

A Brooklyn firm, Radiac Research Corp., is taking away the items brought in at this and other Household Hazardous Waste days in Hunterdon this year. The company submitted a low bid of $86,496 for the service.

The same company, Johnson noted, was the vendor for the county's first such collection, 30 years ago in 2005.

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