MISSOULA - Home ReSource is opening a year-round household hazardous materials disposal site — the first of its kind in Missoula.
Prior to this new facility, the only other opportunity to dispose of hazardous waste was the Missoula County Water Quality District's annual 'Haz Waste Days.'
Lasting only a few days a year, the event still collected a large amount of waste. Noticing the high demand, the water quality district decided to create a year-round drop-off site.
Home ReSource's property will house a 400-square-foot container that will include three separate spaces for waste, separating materials based on toxicity.
For example, one area may contain flammable waste, another poisonous, and another oxidizers.
Hazardous household items include lead paint, mineral salts, pesticides, and gasoline. If these materials are not disposed of properly, there are negative effects on the city's water supply.
“People are pouring out hazardous waste if they don’t have a place to send it pouring it down the sink, they’re pouring it in the ally behind their house, and all of that stuff leaks into the ground, goes back into the watershed, it goes back into, you know, the river, and stuff like that," Home ReSource Zero Waste Systems manager Mason Parker said.
The container can hold the same amount of waste that is collected at one Haz Waste Days event, according to Todd Seib, Missoula water quality specialist.
Once the container is full, Clean Harbors, a company equipped to contain hazardous waste, will remove the unit and replace it with a new one.
The unit is made to prevent leaks and ensure the containment of toxic materials. There is a false floor, so if any liquid were to spill, it would not enter the soil.
The container will be placed on top of a concrete slab to further prevent soil contamination and will be supervised by a county staff member.
“If we can fill that unit multiple times, that’ll be great, we can get rid of a lot of waste that way, but of course, the idea is that disposal should be the last option, if we can find other uses for that, or have less of it, to begin with, that’s even better," Seib says.
Although bringing these materials to the site is much safer, there is still no perfect way to get rid of the items.
“So none of it's magically turned into anything else, it’s still going to be buried or burned somewhere," Seib says.
Home ReSource's goal is to recycle as much of the material as possible, like reselling latex paint.
The site will likely begin accepting waste this summer, though Seib says there are several logistical steps to go through.
Parker encourages folks to keep their household waste until they can find a better way to dispose of it.
"Just hold on to those things, we’re going to get it up and running, because sending it down the sink, or pouring it out in the ally, is not the safest way to dispose of that stuff," he said.
Home ReSource is located at 1515 Wyoming Street in Missoula. Additional information can be found here