Residents can dispose of household hazardous and electronic waste at event

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published May 15, 2013

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Spring is a time of year when many people clean out basements and garages, which is why it’s also the time of year the cities host the annual Household Hazardous and E-Waste Day.

Open to residents of Grosse Pointe City, Farms, Park and Shores, as well as Harper Woods, the free drop-off day takes place from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. May 18 at Pier Park in the Farms. The popular event gives residents a chance to get rid of unwanted or unusable items.

Acceptable household hazardous materials include: antifreeze or coolants, battery acid, brake or transmission fluid, bleaches and disinfectants, CFL bulbs, epoxy and solvents, expired medication, floor care items, fluorescent lamps, fuel oil, fungicides, furniture and metal polishes, gasoline, glue, herbicides, insecticides, mercury thermometers, nail polish, photographic chemicals, oil-based paint, oven and drain cleaner, petroleum solvents, #20 propane tanks, rat poison, varnish, and wood preservatives. Several new items are also being accepted this year: household batteries, latex paint, other types of propane gas tanks and smoke alarms.

Some household hazardous waste items are still not acceptable. These include anything radioactive, explosives, motor oil, medical waste, commercially generated waste, unknown or unlabeled materials, and shock-sensitive materials such as picric acid.

Participants can get rid of a range of old electronics, as well, including most plug-in devices, answering machines, cell or computer batteries, cameras, car batteries, cellphones, DVD players, paper shredders, power tools, printers, televisions, toner cartridges, and computer hard drives, monitors and scanners.

Unacceptable electronic waste materials include air conditioners, dehumidifiers, dishwashers, dryers, freezers, hot water tanks, refrigerators, smoke detectors, stoves and washing machines.

For the second year, organizers are also offering complimentary shredding of documents from noon-2 p.m. Participants can bring up to three bankers boxes full of documents per household for shredding of personal paperwork. Paperclips and staples don’t need to be removed, but residents should only bring paper items for shredding.

“It was very heavily utilized last year,” Grosse Pointe Farms City Manager Shane Reeside said of the shredding service.

Although a different city serves as the official host each year — for 2013, it’s Harper Woods — Pier Park has been the site of the drop-off for a number of years now. The location is relatively central and having it at one spot “hopefully eliminates confusion year-to-year,” Reeside said.

“Pier Park works pretty well logistically for drop-off, and this way, people don’t have to figure out where to drop off their household hazardous waste,” he continued. “Usually, there’s a line (of vehicles) down Lake Shore, but it moves efficiently.”

Harper Woods City Manager Randy Skotarczyk said his city would provide whatever help was needed for the event.

“It’s a great thing for residents,” he said of the annual tradition. “Most of these items are prohibited from being placed in the regular trash. It helps keep the environment clean, and it keeps a lot of hazardous materials from being put in landfills.”

He’s not surprised this program has been such a hit, nor is Reeside, who said the east side cities got on the recycling and green bandwagons long before they became cultural trends.

“To pay for (this kind of) disposal on your own is very expensive,” Skotarczyk said. “This is a great opportunity to clean out your garage or shed.”

The drop-off day is included in the recycling contract negotiated by the cities, Reeside said. This event has been going on for roughly 20 years now and attracts hundreds of residents, he said.

“We really encourage people to recycle,” Reeside said. “Residents can take an active role in reducing the cost of refuse disposal by recycling.”

That’s because the cost of trash disposal is based on weight, while the cost of recycling is based on the number of stops, he said. So, more items diverted out of the trash reduces that cost while not increasing the charge for recycling.

Pier Park is located at 350 Lake Shore, at the foot of Moross. Participants should bring a valid driver’s license to verify their residency. For questions or more information, call Public Service Director Terrance Brennan at (313) 885-6600 or visit