Last fall, we had a situation develop where a local citizen had some motor oil that had been contaminated with gasoline. Only uncontaminated motor oil is acceptable at our Graham Road facility, so he took it to the Hazardous Waste Collection Day, where he was again turned down. That left him with a problem in which he couldn’t keep the stuff, couldn’t dispose of it, couldn’t burn it and couldn’t use it for anything, either.

Some research by our Public Works director has now determined that Riverside Recycling in Portland can take gas/oil mixes and a lot of other household hazardous waste. Although there is a charge for people who are not Portland residents, they will accept household hazardous waste at a Household Hazardous Waste Day they operate on the first Saturday of each month from April through November, with full details at their Website, which is http://riversiderecycles.com/hazardous-waste

On that website, Riverside Recycling has a long list of household hazardous waste they can accept and properly recycle., which includes pretty much all of the things that we cannot handle at our Graham Road facility, including things like pesticides, automotive products, paint thinners and even driveway sealers.

This an excellent new resource for our residents who can’t get into the queue for our own once per year Hazardous Waste Day, but have some products that require special handling.

How should we dispose of dead batteries?

Batteries are tricky because they come in three basic types:

Flashlight batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, 9 volt, alkaline or non-alkaline) may be put in the trash. Years ago these batteries contained mercury but that has long been discontinued in their manufacture and they may be safely put in the trash.

Rechargeable batteries must be recycled and not put in the trash. However, they must be disposed of at a designated Brunswick drop-off box for rechargeable batteries; these are located at the landfill, Public Works and the library.

Button batteries containing mercury and special lithium-ion non-rechargeable batteries (usually for digital cameras) are deemed hazardous and need to be safely stored and brought to the town’s fall household hazardous waste collection program

Coffee cups and ice cream cartons and aseptic containers (individual juice serving boxes, for example)

These items are not currently being recycled under our present program. While made mostly of paper, they are coated with a thin layer of plastic in order to make them water-tight. Our re-processors have no way to separate the plastic from the paper, so they are unable to accept these items. If we get to send our recycling to ecomaine, they will be fully recycled. Some are also embedded with PFAS resins, (so-called “forever chemicals), and cannot be recycled by anyone. We should each ask our coffee vendors how their cups are treated.

The Recycle Bin is a weekly column on what to recycle, what not to recycle, and why, in Brunswick. The public is encouraged to submit questions by email to [email protected]. Harry Hopcroft is a member of the Brunswick Recycling and Sustainability Committee. 

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