A new chemical collection service has not only seen Palmerston North residents safely dispose of over 800 kilograms of unwanted chemicals for free, but also helped educate them around hazardous waste.
The MyHazWaste service, run by chemical collection experts 3R Group, held its first event in Palmerston North on June 16. The council-funded event gave residents the chance to safely dispose of household, garden, garage and pool chemicals for free.
3R Group ChemCollect general manager Jason Richards said the event was designed to improve upon traditional hazmobile events. “We used an evolved collection model which allows for a controlled collection methodology, accurate data collection and increased public education.”
This ensured only substances which have no disposal pathways were collected, he said. “As a result, council can utilise its budget more effectively so that it doesn’t pay for the collection and disposal of things that there are already solutions for.”
Residents wanting to dispose of their unwanted chemicals used the MyHazWaste website to register what they were going to bring. They were then allocated time slots, ensuring traffic flow and risk could be well managed.
The website doubled as an educational tool promoting where to take substances which would not be accepted on the day. “Our team and the Palmerston North City Council (PNCC) staff and volunteers, who helped on the day, also talked to residents who came along about appropriate disposal options,” Jason said.
PNCC city networks general manager Ray Swadel said the collection of 800 kilograms of hazardous chemicals which might otherwise have found their way into the area’s waterways was a great result for the city.
Jason said they received a wide range of substances: from poisons like formaldehyde to pesticides, acids and solvents.
The collection saw some 80 bookings made, with amounts of chemicals handed in ranging from one or two small bottles to one booking of some 64 litres.
This article was first published in the August 2018 issue of NZ Local Government Magazine.