The two-year-old Wisconsin Clean Sweep program, which worked with about 40 communities in the state to handle collection and disposal of household hazardous waste, has been cut from the 2009 state budget to save $1 million in grant money.
The Clean Sweep program was run by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, and facilitated the collection of 945,000 pounds of waste in 2008 alone. This included medications, paint and pesticides, as well as automotive waste and electronics. The program recycled approximately 65 percent of this waste into new products, and the rest was properly disposed of to keep these hazardous products out of landfills.
Wisconsin communities offered free drop-off events knowing that Clean Sweep would collect these products, which will now be restricted or eliminated entirely because it costs the counties thousands of dollars to collect and dispose of hazardous waste.
Clean Sweep manager Roger Springman thinks rural areas will be most affected because they often don’t have permanent drop-off sites, leaving these residents with limited options.
Luckily, many of these products can be taken to alternative locations. Retailers like Best Buy and Staples accept electronics, auto repair shops will often collect used motor oil and other car fluids and paint can often be donated to school drama departments or churches for reuse. You can also use Earth911 to find recycling and reuse options in your area.