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Rumpke Asks Customers to Properly Dispose of Needles Household Hazardous Waste

CINCINNATI –Sept. 16, 2013 – Rumpke is reminding residents that not everything can be simply tossed into a trash can or a recycling bin, and some items that may seem harmless could have dangerous implications for drivers, employees and the environment.

One big problem Rumpke has recently encountered is needles placed loose into trash or recycling containers.

“In Rumpke’s service area of Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia, state laws permit the disposal of sharps or medical needles in the trash when they are used by an individual for the their treatment,” said Mike Puckett, Director of Safety, Rumpke Consolidated Companies, Inc. “However, it is important to properly prepare sharps so they aren’t a danger to trash collection workers or the community”

Rumpke asks that customers disposing of sharps, which would include needles, syringes, lancets and auto injectors place them in a rigid, leak proof, puncture-resistant container like a laundry detergent bottle, secure the lid with heavy duty tape and label the container “sharps.” The container should then be placed into the trash. 

“We caution all people to carefully note what items they are placing in the trash,” Puckett said. “Extra caution can avoid injury and environmental harm.”

Improper disposal of medical sharps isn’t the only material that causes concern for our employees. Household hazardous waste placed in the trash or recycling can also pose problems.

“Rumpke doesn’t accept household hazardous waste such as batteries, pool chemicals and cleaning supplies in its collection programs,” Puckett said. “Placing these items in your trash could have some dangerous implications.”

Puckett cited the example of a major fire at Rumpke’s Cincinnati recycling facility last year as a reason for additional education on what goes in waste and recycling containers.

“Rumpke’s Cincinnati Recycling Center sustained millions of dollars worth of damage during a two-alarm fire last year. While the exact cause of the fire may never be known, investigators believe the fire may have been the result of someone placing something flammable in their recycling container,” he said. 

Here are some tips to keep your garbage and recycling as safe as possible:

1. Check the label:  A lot of household cleaning supplies contain dangerous chemicals. If the container is labeled with “Danger” or “Poison”, it may be hazardous waste, and cannot go into your garbage can or recycling bin.

2. Review service guidelines: Rumpke mails guidelines to all new customers, as well as quarterly service reminders on the back of invoices These guidelines include a list of materials that cannot be thrown away, including batteries, tires, liquids and combustible materials. For more information, contact Rumpke.

3. Research local options: Most local solid waste districts offer days where residents can dispose of household hazardous waste at no cost. Commonly accepted items include:

  • Paint thinner
  • Lawn and pool chemicals
  • Batteries
  • Florescent light bulbs
  • Gasoline and oil
  • Insecticides

“As always, if customers have questions about the proper way to dispose of an item in their waste or recycling, please don’t hesitate to contact us,” Puckett said.

Rumpke Consolidated Companies, Inc. has been committed to keeping neighborhoods and businesses clean and green since 1932 by providing environmentally friendly waste disposal solutions. Headquartered in Colerain Township, Ohio, just outside of Cincinnati, Rumpke is one of the nation’s largest privately owned residential and commercial waste and recycling firms, providing service to areas of Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia. Rumpke divisions include Rumpke Recycling, Rumpke Portable Restrooms, The William-Thomas Group, Rumpke Hydraulics, Rumpke Haul-it-Away and Rumpke Park. For more information, contact us.