Township to revamp hazardous waste collection

Collections spike in volume at seasonal event

By: Cari DeLamielleure-Scott | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published May 14, 2014

WEST BLOOMFIELD — While officials declared the township’s spring Hazardous Waste Day a “great success,” the Environmental Department is reassessing the event process for future spring collections after 1,700 vehicles poured into the Town Hall parking lot.

According to Marshal Labadie, development services director, the number of attendees reached capacity for Town Hall at this year’s event, forcing organizers to find ways to modify the process. However, he said the changes will not significantly reduce future wait time — which was about 30 minutes — or lines. Because the fall event draws in 800-1,000 cars, modifications will not be applied to the Sept. 20 event, he said.

“Every couple of years, we have to take a critical look at (the event) because it’s becoming more and more popular,” Labadie said. “We have to find ways to fine tune it. It could have been one of those days, but we need to be able to get more cars in and processed in our timelines.”

Toward the end of the event, some residents were turned away due to the amount of items received and the amount of time the township had with vendors.

Future tweaks could include adding an event or altering advertising techniques to decrease the number of “premature backups,” or people lining up two hours before the event, he said. Labadie added that he is benchmarking surrounding community events to learn how the communities handle the high volume of people.

The annual spring event pulled in 650 vehicles for paper shredding and 852 vehicles for assorted electronic drop-off. Volunteers picked up items from 17 homes where the residents could not attend the event, and 80 vehicles dropped off items during the reservation-only collection.

West Bloomfield resident Ed Kohl, 74, has been volunteering at the event since its inception. Working in the electronics area, he said volunteers collected televisions, computers, monitors and miscellaneous small appliances.

Kohl said in an email that he continues to volunteer because it is an “obligation to assist with important events that retrieve items that may otherwise be deposited in landfills.” 

The Salvation Army and Lighthouse of Oakland County were on site collecting donations. The Salvation Army drop-off was popular, Labadie said, and three trucks were filled with clothes and small furniture items. In the past, one truck has been filled.

“It was gratifying to see so many people taking the time to save and deliver their material to the site for proper disposal,” Kohl said in a letter to the Beacon.

The next Hazardous Waste Day will be held Sept. 20, and residents are encouraged to continue saving materials for proper disposal.