Lake-Friendly Living Guide: Eliminating Pollutants

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By Lake Hopatcong Foundation: In this installment of our Lake-Friendly Living Guide, we share information on additional ways to eliminate pollutants from our waterways.

With a little thought and effort, we can all make a difference by properly disposing of things like household hazardous waste, motor oils, and medications so they don’t end up in our beautiful lake. 

Out of sight, into our waterways

The age-old proverb, “Out of sight, out of mind,” makes sense, but it’s a troubling way to think about the way we get rid of certain things.

A magician makes a disappearing act work by removing things from view. Suddenly, people in the audience no longer see an object, leading them to believe it has vanished.

In fact, the item has only been moved to a place where it’s no longer visible to onlookers. They’re entertained by believing it disappeared, but only a wide-eyed child would think the magician had made anything truly vanish.

Yet, that’s often what we like to believe when we dispose of things like motor vehicle fluids, tires, paint, batteries, electronics, yard waste, and even medicine. We haven’t made them vanish. We’ve only moved them out of sight and out of mind.

There’s nothing magical about protecting the quality of our water. Just about everything we use and dispose of finds its way into our lakes, waterways and, if not properly treated, our household water supply.

Since each person in a single-family home uses an average of nearly 70 gallons of water per day, in addition to the many ways we use water for recreation, it’s critical to protect it.

Ironically, we often use water directly to get things out of sight, washing them down a drain, flushing them down a toilet or hosing them off our property. Those are rarely, however, the best ways to proceed.

With our increased awareness of the importance of protecting natural resources, municipalities and businesses are becoming increasingly responsive. They’re not making magic, but they are investing time and money to provide more effective ways to keep our water clean.


Recycling, trash, and the disposal of common pollutants

Below is community-by-community and county information about recycling and disposal of trash and hazardous materials.

Roxbury

The Roxbury Recycling Center is located at 96 N. Dell Avenue in Kenvil. Click HERE for details on what you may drop off.  Additional information is available HERE, or you may also call 973-448-2053.

Trash and recycling pickup in Roxbury Township is currently provided by Blue Diamond Disposal. Click HERE or call them at (973) 598-9800 for questions about curbside pickup.

Mount Arlington 

The Mt. Arlington Municipal Recycling Depot is located at 1 Altenbrand Avenue. Click HERE for details on what you may drop off, You may also call the Mount Arlington Dept. of Public Works at 973-398-4200.

For inquiries regarding curbside trash disposal and white metal/metal pickups, click HERE or call the Mount Arlington Utility Department at 973-398-6832 ext. 113.

Medicine and medical waste, including needles, may be disposed of at the Mount Arlington Police Department, 520 Altenbrand Avenue. For information, click HERE or call 973-398-2100.

Jefferson

The Jefferson Recycling Center is located at 4 Sparta Mountain Road, at the junction of Weldon Road. Click HERE for details on what you may drop off. Additional information is available HERE. You may also call 973-697-1500 or 973-208-3639.

Medicine and medical waste, including needles, may be disposed of at the Jefferson Township Police Department, 1033 Weldon Road. For information, click HERE or call 973-208-6153.

Hopatcong

The Hopatcong Recycling Center is located on the Veterans Way section of Flora Avenue. For information, call the Dept. of Public Works at 973-770-1200, option 9.

For inquiries regarding curbside trash or recycling, call Suburban Disposal at 973-227-7020.

Click HERE for details on the disposal of grass clippings and yard waste.

Medicine and medical waste, including needles, may be disposed of at the Hopatcong Police Department, 111 River Styx Road. Click HERE for more information.

Morris County 

The Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority schedules several hazardous household waste drop-off dates each year. Click HERE for more information.

Sussex County

The Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority schedules hazardous household waste drop-off dates each year. Click HERE for more information. 

 

All communities

When disposing of household medicines on your own, click HERE for information from the New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection.


HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE

Household hazardous waste is any waste produced in the home, which is flammable, toxic, corrosive, or reactive. Common examples include: gasoline, oil, solvents, paints, paint thinners, fertilizers, pesticides, cleaners, and batteries.

DO …

  • Use in the smallest amounts possible.

  • Use non-toxic, biodegradable products, when possible.

  • Recycle whenever possible, or share with a neighbor.

  • Clean paint brushes and other supplies in a sink, not outside.

  • Store properly to avoid leaks or spills.

  • Dispose of them at a household hazardous waste collection event.


MOTOR VEHICLE CARE

Most people might link motor vehicles to air pollution, but fluids found in them can be very detrimental to water quality as well.

DO …

  • Make sure your car is not leaking fluids.

  • Use an oil pan if you change your own oil.

  • Clean up oil spills with an absorbent material, such as kitty litter, and then dispose of it properly.

  • Wash your car on your lawn. Better yet, take it to a commercial car wash where the wash water is captured, cleaned, recycled and reused.

  • Avoid using soapy water, which contains phosphorus and other harmful chemicals, when washing your vehicle.


MEDICATION DISPOSAL

Until recently, consumers have been told to flush old drugs down the toilet or pour them down the drain. We now know some drugs pass largely unaltered through wastewater treatment systems. A nationwide study found low levels of drugs such as antibiotics, hormones, contraceptives and steroids in 80 percent of the rivers and streams tested in the United States. 

DO …

  • Drop off medications to a special local collection site or event, whenever possible.

  • When throwing medications at home, add water and then mix ashes, dirt, cat litter, coffee grounds, or another undesirable substance to them.

  • Hide medications in a container, such as a sealable bag, box or plastic tub, and seal it with strong tape.

  • Dispose of medications as close to your trash collection day as possible to avoid accidental or intentional misuse.

  • Avoid crushing pills because some can be harmful in powder form.

NEVER …

  • Flush medication down a toilet or sink drain.

  • Conceal discarded medications in food.


Next up in our Lake-Friendly Living Guide series: Conserving Water


Previous posts:
Lake-Friendly Living Guide: Stormwater Basics

Lake-Friendly Living Guide: Go Native! Install Vegetative Buffers and Rain Gardens

Lake-Friendly Living Guide: Smart Lawn Care

Lake-Friendly Living Guide: Fertilizers, Phosphorus, and Water Quality

Lake-Friendly Living Guide: Septic Maintenance

Lake-Friendly Living Guide: Alternative Septic Systems

 

Roxbury

The Roxbury Recycling Center is located at 96 N. Dell Avenue in Kenvil. Click HERE for details on what you may drop off.  Additional information is available HERE, or you may also call 973-448-2053.

Trash and recycling pickup in Roxbury Township is currently provided by Blue Diamond Disposal. Click HERE or call them at (973) 598-9800 for questions about curbside pickup.

Mount Arlington

The Mt. Arlington Municipal Recycling Depot is located at 1 Altenbrand Avenue. Click HERE for details on what you may drop off, You may also call the Mount Arlington Dept. of Public Works at 973-398-4200.

For inquiries regarding curbside trash disposal and white metal/metal pickups, click HERE or call the Mount Arlington Utility Department at 973-398-6832 ext. 113.

Medicine and medical waste, including needles, may be disposed of at the Mount Arlington Police Department, 520 Altenbrand Avenue. For information, click HERE or call 973-398-2100.

Jefferson

The Jefferson Recycling Center is located at 4 Sparta Mountain Road, at the junction of Weldon Road. Click HERE for details on what you may drop off. Additional information is available HERE. You may also call 973-697-1500 or 973-208-3639.

Medicine and medical waste, including needles, may be disposed of at the Jefferson Township Police Department, 1033 Weldon Road. For information, click HERE or call 973-208-6153.

Hopatcong

The Hopatcong Recycling Center is located on the Veterans Way section of Flora Avenue. For information, call the Dept. of Public Works at 973-770-1200, option 9.

For inquiries regarding curbside trash or recycling, call Suburban Disposal at 973-227-7020.

Click HERE for details on the disposal of grass clippings and yard waste.

Medicine and medical waste, including needles, may be disposed of at the Hopatcong Police Department, 111 River Styx Road. Click HERE for more information.

Morris County

The Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority schedules several hazardous household waste drop-off dates each year. Click HERE for more information.

Sussex County

The Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority schedules hazardous household waste drop-off dates each year. Click HERE for more information.

 

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