Open Burning: What You Should Know

Posted by on Jun 22, 2018 in Learning Center

Here’s a burning question…is it okay to burn trash in Hendricks County?  The answer is “NO!  It is against the law!” Burning trash of any kind is not allowed in Hendricks County (or any other Indiana county).  That includes things like construction material, furniture and household garbage.  Here are really good reasons for this rule: your health, your neighbors’ health and the health of our environment. Burning garbage releases a number of known toxins including dioxin, benzopyrene (both are known to cause cancer) and hydrogen chloride gas (causes fluid buildup in the lungs).  Additionally, the tiny particles released during open burning cause respiratory distress and increase the likelihood of lung infections; even in healthy people.  These risks are particularly concerning for those with asthma, COPD, emphysema and other respiratory diseases. What Should You Do Instead? Reduce:  Take an inventory of the kinds of things you throw away.  Can you reduce the amount of trash you create by buying products with less packaging, recyclable packaging or no packaging at all? Reuse:  There are many items that we throw away every day that can be used again.  For instance, you can find 1001 uses for coffee cans, newspapers, magazines, and cardboard. Recycle:  The Hendricks County Solid Waste District offers free 24 hour Recycling Drop-off Centers in Lizton, Coatesville, and Stilesville where you can recycle plastics (no Polystyrene or plastic film such as shopping bags), steel, aluminum and glass food and beverage containers, paper, cardboard, chipboard, junk mail, office paper, phone books, and cartons.  Visit our website for more information.  Many areas of the county are also served by waste haulers that offer curbside recycling (a better way to recycle!) for a small fee. Compost:  When dealing with yard waste, the best option is to compost materials like grass clippings, leaves, twigs, and other vegetation.  If composting is not an option for you, consider utilizing one of the District’s Yard Waste Recycling Centers (Plainfield and Brownsburg) or GreenCycle McCarty in Danville where your materials are mulched or composted. Dispose Properly:  All remaining trash must be disposed of in a responsible manner. Residential trash and service is offered to Hendricks County households by both Ray’s Trash Service and Republic Services. Most trash service in the county is subscription-based so each household determines what company it would like use for trash service. More information about open burning and how it impacts human and environmental health is available from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) at

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Consider Composting!

Posted by on Apr 30, 2018 in Adult Outreach, General, Learning Center

Food waste and yard waste together make up about 25% of what we throw away.  That means almost ¼ of what we toss can be composted!  We can recycle nutrient-rich “stuff” like leaves, twigs, grass clippings, weed and shrub cuttings, garden waste, and food waste back into the soil by letting nature do her thing. Composting reduces the need to water because of organic matter’s great water-holding capacity.  This can be a real money saver if you are on city water.  Compost can also replace the need for chemical fertilizers, improve soil structure (which cuts down on erosion), increase yields of fruit and vegetable gardens, and it can be fun! There are many different styles of composting, but they will all result in rich organic material that can be a great soil amendment.  And the best news is that compost happens…you can’t mess it up.  In fact, composting can be as easy as burying food scraps other than meats in your garden or flowerbeds.  Be sure you dig a hole at least 1′ deep and cover the scraps with 8″ or more of soil so animals will leave them alone. If you want to make compost that you can spread, here are the basics. Pick whichever method works for you. 1.  Bin or Pile – Deciding which one to use will depend on how fancy or neat you want your compost to be.  If appearance is a consideration, you might prefer to keep it contained in a bin or store-bought composter.  A bin can also help to keep the pile from spreading as they will tend to do over time.  Bins can be pallets lined up to made a box, plastic bins, chicken wire, or a trash can with no bottom and air holes in the sides.  A pile should be at least 3’x3’ and preferably more like 6’x6’. 2.  Location – A pile or bin should be kept in a somewhat shaded area so that it won’t dry out so quickly. It is also important to keep it close the where you will eventually use the compost.  Some people choose to put the pile where they plan to plant next year’s crops so the finished compost can be spread right where it is.  You may also want to have your bin near the kitchen since you will probably incorporate a lot of food scraps. 3.  Tools – Basically all you need is a pitchfork to turn and aerate the compost.  A compost thermometer is sometimes helpful, as well. 5.  Recipe – Start with bare soil.  Exposed soil allows the flora and fauna living in the soil to travel into your compost and aid in the decomposition of the material. In general, a compost pile is made in layers of brown and green materials.  The exposed soil serves as the first layer of brown material.  Add a layer of “green”...

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Battery Basics

Posted by on Apr 4, 2018 in Household Hazardous Waste, Learning Center, Recycling

Batteries! In our technology-rich society, it seems we rely on them more than ever. But, what do you do with them when they die? Disposal options for batteries are determined by the type of battery you want to get rid of. So, here’s what you should know… Rechargeable and button batteries should always be recycled. They contain materials like Lithium, Nickel Cadmium, and Mercury. Most rechargeable and button batteries will display a picture of a trash bin with a line through it indicating that they should not be thrown away. The chemicals they contain are considered hazardous and must be properly disposed of to avoid contamination of our water, air and soil. Thankfully,  rechargeable and button batteries are very easy to recycle–many local stores (Best Buy, Lowes, Target, Menards, RadioShack, etc.) will accept and recycle them. Here’s a list of local recycling options for these types of batteries. Lead-acid batteries (automotive, lawn mower, etc.) are also very recyclable. As their name suggests, these batteries contain lead and acid; both of which are considered hazardous. Many auto service centers and auto parts stores (Big O Tires, Indy Tire, Interstate Batteries, NAPA Auto Parts, etc.) will accept these batteries for recycling (list). Alkaline batteries (non-rechargeable) have been reformulated and are not considered hazardous.  These types of batteries are safe to be disposed of with your normal trash.  There is a small amount of recoverable metal in them that can be recycled where programs exist. There are a couple of nearby recycling options for alkaline batteries. Alkaline batteries are no longer accepted for recycling during the District’s Tox-Away Day events; any alkaline batteries brought to Tox-Away Day are...

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Latex Paint Disposal

Posted by on Mar 9, 2018 in Learning Center

Unwanted or unusable latex paint seems to be everywhere. Many of us inherit a less-than-desirable collection of it when we buy a house–leftovers from the previous owners. The good news is latex paint is non-toxic and doesn’t require any special disposal (so please don’t bring it to Tox-Away Day…doing so slows down the line & increases the District’s cost to provide the events…). Once it’s been dried out, local trash haulers will pick it up with your normal household trash. But, there is a better way! Avoiding the need to dispose of that paint is a much better option. So, here are some quick tips to help you do just that. BUY IT RIGHT–the best way to avoid having leftover paint you don’t want is to buy the correct amount to begin with. Consult an online paint calculator or ask the representative at the paint counter for help figuring what you’ll need. STORE IT RIGHT–extreme temperatures will ruin paint! If possible, store paint in an interior closet. Be sure the lids are on tightly. You can even store the cans upside down and allow the paint itself to form an airtight seal against the lid. USE IT UP–before throwing paint away you no longer want, consider giving it another life. Maybe a neighbor or non-profit can use it (Habitat ReStore in Avon will accept usable latex paint in full or nearly full containers. They also sell a line of recycled paint–it’s good stuff at a very good price!). Or, perhaps it would make a perfect primer for your next painting project. If you must throw some paint away, simply add sand or clay-based cat litter to the paint until there are equal parts of absorbent and paint. Stir until well mixed. Place the uncovered container in a well-ventilated area until the mixture hardens. Then dispose of the uncovered container with your regular trash (leaving the containers uncovered lets your trash hauler know that the paint has been hardened).  TIP:  when drying paint from a container that is more than half full, line a sturdy cardboard box with a garbage bag. Alternate between pouring absorbent and paint into the lined box until the paint container is empty. Stir until mixed and let it harden. Click to watch our Latex Paint Drying Video Demonstration . Oil-based paints, stains, varnishes, lacquers, etc. should be disposed of at a Tox-Away Day. We accept these (and many other materials) free-of-charge at the...

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Electronics Recycling

Posted by on Jan 3, 2018 in Learning Center

Did you notice how many electronic devices were given as gifts during the holidays? It’s true that electronics comprise an ever-increasing proportion of what we throw away. We have seen a huge increase in a number of electronics we receive at our Tox-Away Days. In fact, in 2017, we received and recycled over 100,000 pounds of e-waste through that program–a 19% jump over the previous year. Fortunately, there are options for safe disposal of electronics in Hendricks County. Below, we’ll explain an easy way to connect to those recycling options. First, let’s talk about why it is so important to recycle your electronic gadgetry. Electronics make up about 1-2% of the waste stream (what we put in the trash). A greater issue is the rate at which this portion of the waste stream is increasing and the toxicity of those items. Electronic waste is the fastest growing portion of the waste stream! What’s more, CRT’s (cathode ray tube) TVs and computer monitors contain many toxic substances including lead, mercury and cadmium. To protect our air, soil and groundwater from those contaminants, most electronics cannot be disposed of in a landfill or incinerator. Local electronics recyclers include Goodwill, Best Buy, Staples, Electronics Recyclers International, NuGenesis, Office Depot and Ray’s Recycling Transfer Station. You should always contact the recycling organization directly for details about their specific program prior to delivering your items. A couple of notes on recycling televisions:  not all electronics recyclers will accept TVs for recycling. Those that do will charge $20 or more to take them. (The District charges $20 or $25 per television (depending on size) at our Tox-Away Day events.) Need help recycling other post-holiday leavings? Visit our Online Recycling Directory.  Once there, select the item you have and your local options will populate....

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