The town of Highland Park has added two appropriate options for disposing of paints, chemicals, and other hazardous waste.
Sending them to the landfill with the regular trash pickup, of course, remains a major no-no.
“It ends up causing a long-term environmental problem,” Mayor Pro Tem John McKnight explained.
Instead of disposing of batteries, solvents, and pesticides illegally or letting them sit in a garage, residents may take advantage of the new program the town introduced in April.
As before, residents still may drop off for free at the Dallas County Home Chemical Collection Center on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. Call 214-553-1764 or visit dallascounty.org for additional details.
But town leaders are aware that many residents don’t want to drive to 11234 Plano Road, a little more than 11 miles from Highland Park Town Hall.
“It sounds worse than it is,” Mayor Margo Goodwin said. “It sounds farther out.”
For those who don’t want to go much farther than the sidewalk, the town has added curbside collection.
The service, provided in partnership with the county and Stericycle Environmental Solutions, cost $160 per pickup of up to 25 gallons of paint and other materials. Charges will be added to the next water bill.
Call 214-521-4161 at least 24 hours in advance to schedule collection and then place items in an open cardboard box curbside. Include an inventory of the items. Forms are available on the town’s website.
Former director of town services Ronnie Brown, who worked on the program before his retirement, said, “The goal is to increase participation and make it as convenient as possible.”
Only about 130 residents a year have been visiting the county site.
Town leaders looked at options for including hazardous waste pickup as a basic service included in the standard charges assessed to residents for trash service but ultimately preferred to charge per use rather than increase the bills of all customers.
“There’s a lot of people who don’t have a need for this service,” council member Eric Gambrell said.
For those who need to dispose of chemicals and paints, but don’t want to pay, the new program allows for up to four free hazardous waste drop off events.
Town leaders plan to offer two events the first year and have reserved May 11 and Oct. 13. The events should be able to accommodate about 125 people, and reservations will be required.
The town budgeted $40,000 for the hazardous waste program, a $24,000 increase covered by franchise fees assessed on businesses whose vehicles use town streets.