Nervous disorders, premature births, mercury poisoning. These are all ways East Texans can be affected by improperly dumping something as common as paint or oil. But many Lufkin residents have done their part to protect the environment. They participated in a household hazardous waste collection.
There's actually someone who wants your leftover paint,old batteries, and even the oil you drained out of your truck, perhaps months ago. We use this stuff everyday, but when it's time to throw it away you've got men in protective suits who won't even touch it with their bare hands. Disposal industry spokesman Cheryl Burton-Fentress said, "A lot of the cleaners that you use are corrosive. A lot of them are oxidized where they can cause a reaction."
We're learning when household chemicals are stored or thrown away improperly by thousands of households horrible things can happen. Fentriss added, "It can cause central nervous disorders when you put them in your landfills. It rains, the water leeches out, goes into your storm water and it's not good for the environment."
As a result these everyday items are hard to get rid of. And explains why Lufkin residents lined up to unload them. It's also a good opportunity for the disposal industry. This company could be paid as much as $25,000.
Saturday's collection was sponsored by Angelina Beautiful Clean and the City of Lufkin. Significant funding came from Pineywoods Restoration Conservation and Development by fines collected from violators of environmental safety laws.
Most of the collections will be recycled. The latex paint is made into more paint and sometimes used in cement manufacturing. The oil based paint ends up in fuel products.
Furniss explained, "They'll blend it with other fuels, gasolines, oils, things like that and they'll use that as a reusable product for fuels blending."
Unfortunately, Lufkin doesn't have a hazardous waste collection site we can go to everyday. Angelina Beautiful Clean is helping out.
Executive Director Krista Cloonan said, "We are in the process of coming up with a list of methods for people to dispose of things that they have on a regular basis because we aren't able to do this event once a month."