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E-waste

After what seems like another unusually long winter, the anticipation for spring creates the desire to clean our house of the winter blues, which leads to spring cleaning! As you start or continue cleaning your home this season, keep in mind that some household items should not be thrown into the household trash, as they contain hazardous materials.

Have you found out-of-date, broken or obsolete electronics such as computers, keyboards, fax machines, scanners, radios, cell phones, pagers, microwave ovens and universal power supply cords, just to name a few? All of these are considered to be electronics.

After completing your spring cleaning, the question is how to dispose of the old, broken and obsolete electronics. Cayuga Recycles has scheduled a Spring Electronics Plus Recycling Event for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES, 1879 W. Genesee St. Road, Aurelius. This event is open to Cayuga County residents, and no reservations are needed. We ask that only electronics come from residential properties or businesses employing less than 50 people.

Do you have an old tube television set or CRT computer monitor you may have replaced with a newer version over the holidays? These can contain 6 to 8 pounds of lead in their cathode ray tubes, plus other materials worthy of recycling! We recycle these; however, we ask for a $10 donation per TV or large computer monitor. Should you have an older console model or large projection screen TV, we are asking for a $20 donation each. There is no charge for flat-screen TVs, as they contain less hazardous materials and do not contain leaded glass screens.

In addition to electronics, Cayuga Recycles will also accept button cell, hearing aid and small rechargeable batteries. Alkaline batteries no longer contain mercury and can be thrown away in your regular trash. Incandescent light bulbs can also be thrown in the regular trash. Both Home Depot and Lowe's home improvement stores in the Auburn area accept and recycle compact fluorescent light bulbs and larger rechargeable batteries year-round. Therefore, we will not be accepting these at the May 18 recycling event.

Do you have old window A/C units, small refrigerators or dehumidifiers? These can also be recycled on Saturday, May 18, at no charge with funding from Nucor Steel, but there is a 40-pound limit. Finally, fluorescent tube light bulbs and ballasts, which contain mercury, will be accepted for recycling at no charge due to partial funding from the state Department of Environmental Conversation. Also accepted for free are toner and ink cartridges from your printers.

Once again this spring, The UPS Store will be accepting confidential documents from households for shredding. There is a limit of two file boxes per household. Do you have old clothing, textiles and small household items like lamps looking for a home? These will also be accepted on May 18.

June 22 will be the date of the Cayuga County Tire Roundup event held at the Natural Resource Center on County House Road from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Tires up to 30 inches tall are $1.50 each, and tires measuring 31 to 36 inches tall are $5 each.

Tires also need to be kept out of the landfill waste stream. Should they be improperly disposed of, they can put your health and your community’s health at risk.

Each fall, Cayuga Recycles partners conduct a household hazardous waste collection event. So hold on to pool chemicals, driveway sealer, oil-based paints, solvents, pesticides, adhesives, polishes, waxes and mercury. Improper disposal of household hazardous waste can impact the environment for both the near term and long term. The date and location are still to be announced, but save all household hazardous waste, which will be accepted at no cost.

Both the Spring Electronics Plus and Tire Roundup events are sponsored by Cayuga Recycles. Cayuga Recycles is a partnership of the Cayuga County Department of Planning and Economic Development, Cayuga County Solid Waste Management Office, Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation District and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cayuga County. If you have any questions about these events, contact Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cayuga County at (315) 255-1183 and leave a message in the general message center so your question can be answered.

As you are cleaning this spring, begin collecting and categorizing items for recycling. You will feel good about making sure potentially hazardous materials are safely disposed of and not a problem for future generations to solve.

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Judy Wright is the senior agriculture specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Seneca County. For more information, visit senecacountycce.org or call (315) 539-9251 ext. 109.

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