Columbia hazardous waste facility prepares for yearly opening

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COLUMBIA- Columbia Solid Waste Utilities will open its Hazardous Household Waste Facility Saturday. 

Columbia residents can drop off their hazardous items to the facility from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. every first and third Saturday of the month from April through November. 

The city collects potentially flammable items such as: latex paint, car fluid, antifreeze, motor oil, household cleaners and yard fertilizer.

Jody Cook, a volunteer program specialist, said the facility collects waste items to help the environment.

"It's very important for our environment," Cook said. "We have to keep all these chemicals and hazardous materials out of the landfill."

Cook said paint is one of the facility's most commonly collected items. She said it's reusable and is given back to the public for free.

"We definitely take a lot of paint, and with all the latex paint that we recover, all of that is opened up," Cook said. "We see if any of it is salvageable and then we consolidate it in 5 gallon buckets."

Cook said the facility recovered over 3600 gallons of paint the public reused last year. She said the facility can only take three to five gallons of paint per person. 

Cook said it is important for Columbia residents to get involved and give to the facility. 

"I think that everybody needs to make an effort yearly just to go through the house and get rid of these things," Cook said. "A lot of times we have a tendency to store them up especially if we have garages or storage area." 

Columbia Solid Waste Utilities lists all household hazardous product it accepts on its website.