Light bulbs on for city recycling

Chris Berendt Staff Writer

September 26, 2013

If there is something that a local resident is looking to get rid of, chances are good the City of Clinton, through various collection efforts being extended during a one-week period next month, will accept the items — whether at curbs, at the Public Works building or the Clinton City Market.

The City of Clinton has officially announced its first annual Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day, slated for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at the City Market, located at 215 Lisbon St. The City of Clinton Public Works and Utilities Department is partnering with Sampson County, and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as part of the effort.

“Occasionally, we get calls from the local citizenry about what they can do about their household hazardous waste,” said Jeff Vreugdenhil. “We wanted to do something to help the public and this is just an expansion on our recycling program.”

He said, depending on the success of the endeavor, it could very well become an annual event.

While the collection of household hazardous waste might not be a frequent occurrence, the collection of a new recyclable — fluorescent light bulbs — will be, local officials said.

Vreugdenhil said the new light bulb recycling option is already being offered to the general public.

“If they call us, if they have light bulbs or fluorescent tubes they need to dispose of, we will accept them,” the Public Works director said. The city received a grant through the Department of Environment and Public Assistance to fund collection and disposal costs.

While the light bulb recycling unveiling was expected to coincide with next month’s Hazardous Waste Day, Vregdenhil said the effort is in full swing.

“We already accept them from 7 to 2:30 at 200 W. John St. All they need to do is call,” he said. “They should not set them outside in the sun. As long as they are not broken, we will accept them and put them in environmentally-safe containers and ship them or transport them to (a collection center in) Raleigh.”

Hazardous Waste Day

The City of Clinton already offers biannual Clean Up Weeks to local residents, through which regular trash collection practices are suspended to pick up items not normally collected by the city such as furniture, appliances and tires.

The City Council has designated Oct. 14-18 as Fall Clean Up Week, to be followed by the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day. However, while many items are collected during those biannual weeks — another is held in the spring — that does not include oil-based paints, batteries, insecticides, auto parts, gasoline and other substances that present sticky and sometimes unsafe situations for those collecting and processing them.

Fortunately for residents, the Household Hazardous Waste Day will pick up the slack for many of those items, providing an opportunity to accept them at the tail end of the Fall Clean Up Week.

The city has frequently reminded residents not to include household hazardous waste and light bulbs in its residential garbage, curbside single-stream recycling or its items placed for pick-up during cleanup weeks. While still not accepting such hazardous items at curbs, the city is offering through its Oct. 19 event at the City Market to dispose of them at no cost to residents.

“It will be run by a group of experts who will politely ask people to remain in their cars and pop the trunks so they may remove the materials to keep the people same and things moving through,” Vreugdenhil said.

According to Public Works officials, items being collected as part of the effort include oil based paints; outdated medicine; paint thinners and solvents; drain cleaners; cleaning products; rechargeable batteries; pool chemicals; mercury and items containing mercury; old gasoline; antifreeze; fluorescent light bulbs; driveway sealer; and aerosol paints and pesticides.

Items still not being collected include latex paint; fireworks and explosives; agricultural waste; fire extinguishers; ammunition; institutional waste; radioactive waste; controlled substances; batteries; garbage; tires and used oil.

For more information on the Hazardous Materials Collection Day or the new light bulb recycling initiative, contact the City of Clinton Public Works Department at 910-299-4905.

Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at