Cape Cod homeowners: time to gather your hazardous waste

Barnstable County and towns team up to collect poisons, polishes, mercury and more

Attention all Cape Cod homeowners, it is the perfect time of year to do a very particular kind of spring cleaning. Barnstable County (Cape Cod Extension) is teaming up with Cape towns to collect hazardous household waste.

Hazardous waste collections are held each year, typically from April to October and vary by individual town/area. Some towns, such as Dennis, only collect from their residents, while other towns work together, such as the collection for Brewster, Chatham and Harwich in Harwich.

So far this year, three collections have already been held, one in Sandwich, one in Barnstable and one in Harwich. Five collections are scheduled for Saturdays in June beginning on June 7:

  • June 7 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Tony Kent Arena (Dennis residents)
  • June 7 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Wellfleet Transfer Station (Provincetown, Truro and Wellfleet residents)
  • June 14 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Harwich Transfer Station (Brewster, Chatham and Harwich residents)
  • June 21 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Falmouth High School (Bourne Sandwich, Falmouth and Mashpee residents)
  • June 28 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Barnstable Transfer Station (Barnstable residents)

See the remainder of the schedule for July, August, September and October here.

What is hazardous and what isn't? Before heading to their town's collection site, homeowners should do a little homework, or what the Cape Cod Extension refers to as a "household hazardous products audit".  If the label says "danger", "poison", "warning" or "caution", it is a safe bet you'll want to take it with you to the collection site if you no longer need or want it. Disposing of certain items in the trash may not only create a danger in your household, it could also have a negative impact on the environment and here on Cape Cod, our very delicate ground water.

In addition to pesticides, polishes and poisons, any and all mercury-containing devices will be accepted, according to the Cape Cod Extension. This includes blood pressure gauges, thermostats and thermometers. Free digital thermometers and thermostats may be exchanged for mercury units courtesy of Covanta SEMASS.  According to Covanta's website, they are a partner of the Product Stewardship Institute and having been offering the mercury exchange program since 2000.

Be sure to review the brochure for your town. All towns are equipped to deal with the "regular" disposal of many household hazardous products including televisions, light bulbs batteries and most paints. Latex paint will not be accepted on the special collection days. Instead, acrylic paint, latex paint, water-based stains and wood finishes should be poured over cat litter to absorb the liquid and thrown away as outlined in Bourne's brochure. View your town's hazardous waste collection brochure here.

So you know what to expect at a collection, watch the Cape Cod Extension video below:


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