Carefree hosts triple header recycling event Nov. 21

By Linda Bentley | November 11 2009

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recycle montage
Carefree is the first community in Arizona, possibly in the country, that has established a program for recycling fluorescent bulbs

CAREFREE – On Nov. 21 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., Carefree will be holding a triple header recycling event at the corner of Tom Darlington Drive and Ho Road, where citizens may safely dispose of prescription and non-prescription drugs, old computers and electronic equipment, and have documents shredded at no cost.

During the first three semi-annual safe drug disposal events held by Carefree in conjunction with Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, 210 pounds of prescription and over-the counter drugs were turned in to be safely disposed of by MCSO, which incinerates them along with illegal drugs.

Pills and capsules, whether prescription or over-the-counter, should be removed from the original container and packaging and placed in a clear plastic bag and may be mixed.
Liquid medications must be left in original containers.

No syringes or bio-waste will be accepted at this event.

All drugs must be handed to a MCSO deputy.

Carefree Councilman Bob Coady, who has been coordinating the town’s recycling program for the past eight years, recently returned from a trip to Washington, D.C., where he was accompanied by Patience Monroe, solid waste program coordinator for Maricopa County; Edward Domanico, hazardous material specialist; and Dr. Joseph DeMaria, occupational safety and health consultant.

After having made a previous trip, the group was invited back by U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, who is very concerned about a law that will begin phasing out incandescent light bulbs in favor of fluorescent bulbs beginning in 2012 as an energy conservation measure. However, Poe realized the law does not deal with the toxic waste produced by fluorescent bulbs in their disposal.

Carefree is the first community in Arizona, possibly in the country, that has established a program for recycling fluorescent bulbs.

Over the past six years, Carefree’s program has safely disposed of 18,000 fluorescent bulbs, which Coady says has kept approximately one pound of mercury out of the environment.

According to Coady, one fluorescent tube can contaminate 33,000 liters of water and just one-eighth of a teaspoon of mercury can contaminate a 20-acre lake and render the fish inedible.

Maricopa County has since incorporated six fluorescent bulb compactors into its recycling centers.

While Poe took time out from meetings on health care reform to meet with the group, Carefree Mayor David Schwan rejected reimbursement of any expenses associated with Coady’s trip.

The recycling event on Nov. 21 has been made possible through contributions by the following people and organizations and is not funded with tax dollars:
ABCO Recycling, Bad Donkey, Boland Law Group, Estate Planning by Martin Wieczorek, Foothills Chiropractic, Jessco Electric, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Sonoran News, Soroptimists of Carefree, Rod de Szendeffy, and Westec Recycling.