Residents don’t waste chance to discard hazardous items

Staff Writer

 Middlesex County residents drop off household hazardous waste items and paint materials during a collection day at the Middlesex County Highways Division facility in North Brunswick. Middlesex County residents drop off household hazardous waste items and paint materials during a collection day at the Middlesex County Highways Division facility in North Brunswick. Middlesex County collected some 85,000 pounds of hazardous waste in one day last month.

More than 750 cars dropped off the materials on May 16 when the county held its Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Day at the Middlesex County Highways Division facility in North Brunswick.

“The freeholders and our partners are always working to raise the bar for the health of the county. We’re glad that the Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Program has become one of our most popular and successful programs because of its benefit to our residents and their families,” Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios said.

The most significant collections were 12,000 pounds of flammable liquids, 14,000 pounds of paint-related material, 728 pounds of fire extinguishers and about 25,000 pounds of latex paint.

 PHOTOS COURTESY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY PHOTOS COURTESY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY Other accepted materials included aerosols, asbestos, corrosives, oxidizers, pesticides, antifreeze, batteries, fluorescent bulbs, mercury, motor oil and propane cylinders.

Items placed in the regular garbage end up in the Middlesex County landfill. Improperly disposed of household hazardous wastes pose a danger to children and animals, have the potential to cause groundwater and other environmental pollution, and have the potential to pose a threat to garbage collection crews, the freeholders said.

“We feel that monitoring and disposing of materials like these is one of the best ways our residents can help care for the environment,” said Freeholder H. James Polos, chairman of the county’s Public Safety and Health Committee. “Keeping the county clean and safe will always be a priority of the board.”

To dispose of the items, the county hires a licensed contractor that sorts the material and transports the waste to properly licensed disposal facilities, according to the freeholders. There are several ways residents can dispose of items that the county does not collect, such as medical waste, electronics and explosives. Residents can bring needles to participating hospitals such as Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick and JFK Medical Center in Edison; prescription medicines to participating drug stores or police departments; and electronics to establishments such as Best Buy, Staples and Office Depot.

Residents should contact the Board of Chosen Freeholders for more information about the disposal of explosives.

For information on the five hazardous waste collection dates held at four locations throughout the year, or for information on nine paint-collection programs scheduled on Saturdays throughout the year, call Middlesex County Solid Waste Management at 732-745-4170 or visit

Hazardous household waste collection days

July 19:
Old Bridge Department of Public Works,
1 Old Bridge Plaza
Sept. 19:
Woodbridge Department of Public
Works, 225 Smith St., Keasbey
Nov. 15:
Middlesex County College,
2600 Woodbridge Ave., Edison

Acceptable items: adhesives, aerosol cans, anti-freeze, brake fluid, car batteries, cleaners, drain cleaners, fluorescent bulbs, gasoline, gas/oil mix, kerosene, lighter fluid, mercury, motor oil/filters, paints (latex/oil), paint thinner, pesticides/herbicides, photographic chemicals, pool chemicals, propane tanks, stains/varnishes, thermometers, thermostats, and rechargeable and button cell batteries (individually bag each battery or tape each terminal end prior to transport). Alkaline batteries can be disposed of in regular trash.

Unacceptable items: appliances/furniture, electronics, empty containers, explosives and munitions, infectious/medical waste, smoke detectors and tires. No containers over 10 gallons.

Middlesex County residential paint drop-off program

Paint drop-off days are from 8 a.m. to noon at these various locations:

Monthly Schedule
First Saturday:
Middlesex Borough Recycling Center,
1200 Mountain Ave.
East Brunswick Reclamation Center (Recycling
Center), 357 Dunhams Corner Road
Second Saturday:
Dunellen Public Works, 235 Hall St.
New Brunswick Public Works,
400 Jersey Ave.
Old Bridge Public Works (at the Municipal
Complex), 1 Old Bridge Plaza
Third Saturday:
South Plainfield Recycling Center,
Kenneth Avenue
Helmetta, 51 Main St. (behind Borough Hall)
Fourth Saturday:
Woodbridge Public Works,
225 Smith St., Keasbey
South Brunswick Recycling Center (at the
Municipal Complex) 540 Ridge Road

Acceptable items: include latex (water-based) paint, oil-based paint, stains, varnishes, lacquers, thinners, spray paint (aerosol) and driveway sealer. Items must be labeled.

Unacceptable items: include empty containers or latex paint that is dried out. These may be disposed of with your regular trash. Also unacceptable are household hazardous wastes and contractor/business generated material. This service is available free of charge, and is open only to Middlesex County residents. The paint sites will be closed on July 4 due to the holiday.