The city of Lawrence is urging residents to hand over unwanted hazardous waste instead of throwing it away or pouring it down the drain.
From 8 a.m. to noon today, the Waste Reduction and Recycling Division will collect household cleaning products, paint, pesticides, herbicides, mercury thermometers, fuel, automotive oil and other hazardous wastes.
Among items the city will not accept are explosives, ammunition, radioactive waste and medical waste, such as insulin needles.
Laws regarding the disposal of hazardous waste typically affect businesses but not households, said Mollie Mangerich, operations supervisor for Lawrence's Waste Reduction and Recycling Division.
"Houses are fairly nonregulated, so common sense dictates," she said. "That's why a large portion of our education effort is about proper disposal."
At no cost, Douglas County residents can drop off items at the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event, located at the Douglas County Public Works Yard, 711 E. 23rd St. The collection will continue every third Saturday of the month through October.
About 250 people, many of whom are moving and by law cannot transport cleaning items, are expected to drop off items today, Mangerich said. Those who cannot attend the event can call the city to schedule appointments.
People needing cleaners or paint can make appointments to shop the shelves for free.
The amount of people using the center has steadily increased since it opened in 1994. Last year, the city served 1,800 households and collected more than 60,000 pounds of hazardous waste. Mangerich credited increased business hours in the last year and heightened awareness.
"It's a very satisfying feeling to know those materials didn't end up in a child's hands, in a ditch or a down a storm drain."