There are some types of waste that must be handled and disposed of in a special way. Examples of this "special waste" include construction/demolition materials, medical waste, prescription drugs, and sharps (any item with a needle). Extra care must be taken to dispose of these items to protect the environment and the workers that handle the waste.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Construction/Demolition (C/D) Waste: If you have a home construction project that generates C/D waste, you can make arrangements with your waste hauler to pick up the material. Or, you can deliver this material to LCSWMA's facilities for a nominal fee.
Examples of C/D waste include: brick, concrete, ceiling tiles, large pieces of wood, etc. These materials are taken to our Frey Farm Landfill for final processing because either the waste is too large to process at our Waste-to-Energy Facilities or is not burnable. In addition to C/D waste, we also accept asbestos, for a fee, which must be delivered directly to our landfill. Crumbled (friable) asbestos must be wetted and double bagged prior to delivery.
In-Home Medical Waste: At times, following surgery or other medical procedures, you might have bandages or soiled items for disposal. For small amounts of medical waste, first disinfect the waste by treating it with a solution of one teaspoon of bleach in a half gallon of water. Then place the waste in a sealed container or in a doubled, securely fastened plastic trash bag. It is important to take the proper precautions when disposing of medical waste to ensure that those handling the waste are kept safe during all aspects of the disposal process.
For large volumes of medical waste or waste materials generated at doctors' offices, health care facilities, medical research facilities or laboratories, contact the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) for proper medical waste handling instructions. For the South-Central PADEP Office, call 717-705-4700; which serves Adams, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mifflin, Perry and York counties.
Sharps: For safe disposal of used sharps such as needles, syringes, lancets and other sharp objects, contact LCSWMA for a free Safe Clip, a portable device that clips and stores up to 1,500 needles. Once full, the device can be placed in your regular trash. Safe Clips are also available for purchase at most pharmacies.
If you don't have access to a Safe Clip, dispose of sharps by placing them in a puncture-resistant, hard plastic or metal container (an empty detergent bottle or coffee can work well for this). Close the container with its original lid and secure with heavy duty tape. The container can be put out with your regular trash.
Prescription Drugs: Prescription drugs should not be flushed down the toilet, as they can damage the environment and pollute our waterways. In fact, when medications are emptied into toilets, the drugs often end up in lakes or rivers. Additionally, research shows that chemicals from prescription drugs dumped into our sewage systems could end up in our drinking water.
The best way to dispose of unwanted, unused or expired prescription drugs is to use a drug take-back program. Pennsylvania residents can click here to access a database of locations where prescription drugs are accepted. In Lancaster County, there are 17 take-back locations, while Dauphin County has 10 take-back locations.
If no disposal options are listed on your medication or if you don't have a drug take-back location in your area, follow these steps to safely dispose of medication in household trash:
Mix medications (do not crush tablets or capsules) with an undesirable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds. This helps make the drug less desirable to children and pets and makes the drug unrecognizable to people who might be going through the trash intentionally seeking drugs.
Place the mixture in a sealed container or bag to prevent it from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag and place at your curb for disposal with other household trash.
For more information on how to properly dispose of special waste, visit www.lcswma.org or call 717-397-9968.
By understanding how special waste is handled, you are doing your part to protect the environment and our precious resources.