You might be surprised by the strange and dangerous things that come through Beaufort County convenience centers.
Ammunition. Lab chemicals. Prescription medicine. Illicit drugs.
One person even dropped off a jar filled with mercury, county recycling coordinator Carol Murphy recalled.
But "hazardous waste" isn't always so dramatic, she said. Common household items, such as batteries, fluorescent bulbs, antifreeze, oil, insecticides, paints and cleaning products all require special handling because they could contaminate soil and water if not disposed of properly.
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That's why the county and Beaufort County Sheriff's Office are sponsoring the Household Hazardous Materials Roundup and Medicine Cabinet Clean-Out from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the county public works facility at 9 Benton Field Road in Bluffton, said Murphy and Sgt. Robin McIntosh.
In addition to those household items, residents can drop off expired and leftover medicines for proper disposal by Sheriff's Office evidence technicians, according to a news release.
Paint is by far the largest part of the hazardous waste stream in Beaufort County, Murphy said.
The county collects as much as 800 gallons of paint a week -- enough to fill a tractor trailer every two months, she said. That paint is taken to a plant in Valdosta, Ga., run by the county's hazardous waste contractor, Care Environmental Corp., to be turned into boiler fuel, she said.
When in doubt, any household item that has "caution" or "warning" on its label should be treated as hazardous, and can be dropped off at the event, Murphy said.
But occasionally the refuse is just personally hazardous, Murphy joked.
"One resident brought in seven bottles of liquor because he was trying to quit and didn't want to pour it down the drain," she said.
For more information, call 843-255-2734 or go to bcgov.net/recycle.
Follow reporter Zach Murdock at twitter.com/IPBG_Zach.
- Beaufort County Solid Waste and Recycling Department
- SC hazardous-waste dump could cost $400 million to maintain, Jan. 18, 2014