The Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility helps prevent toxic trash.
If the word "recycling" conjures images of aluminum cans and old newspapers, it's time to modify the picture.
While paper and metal products are common recycling items, there is a different kind of recycling gaining popularity: household hazardous waste.
Thanks to the cooperation of civic organizations, the county and city, the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility that opened its doors two years ago has been gaining popularity.
"We get everything from paint and herbicides to personal things like fingernail polish," said Patricia Marvin, the city's recycling coordinator.
Leftover latex paint is one of the most common items, Marvin said.
"We probably got 660 gallons of that last year," she said.
Marvin said that much of the waste that is brought in is still usable. Volunteers sort and distribute waste based on content and toxicity, she said.
Products that are not contaminated are available to nonprofit organizations through a program called Product Exchange. There is no charge for the service, and organizations can "shop" for paint thinner, automotive products, household supplies and pest-control products.
Working with a nonprofit organization prompted Harley Logan to volunteer for the recycling.
"I was involved in the exchange last year for First Step House," he said, "So I volunteered this year."
Logan said customers have been patient with the long lines that tend to form at the beginning of the day.
"A lot of them thank us for giving them this opportunity," he said. "People have so much stuff at home. It's odd to think that stuff could get thrown in the trash."
Lawrence resident Dan Schamle recently helped his mother clean out her house, and in the process found old paint and supplies.
"I remember when I was growing up and my dad would change the oil in the car," he said. "He would throw it down the gutter. We've come a long way since then; at least I hope we have."
Schamle said some of the paint he was leaving at the center was 10 to 15 years old. Recycling, he said, is a good alternative to throwing toxic waste in the trash.
"There's definitely a need for this," he said.
The center is open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. the third Saturday of the month from May through October. For questions about the materials accepted, call 832-3036, or call 832-3330 to volunteer.