Last Saturday’s Household Hazardous Waste Day dropoff event at the Noroton Heights Railroad Station parking lot had much lower participation and volume than in previous years — but apparently that’s because paint is now collected regularly at the town transfer station/recycling center.
This year, Darien will only pay $3,832.50 to a contractor that accepts the waste collected on Household Hazardous Waste Day. That compares with $19,750 last year, according to a memorandum from Assistant Darien Public Works Director Darren Oustafine.
A total of 269 households (142 of them from Darien, or 48.2 percent) participated in the Household Hazardous Waste Day dropoff. Last year there were 1,001 households participating, and 74.5 percent were from Darien.
(His memo to Public Works Director Ed Gentile was sent to members of the town Energy & Recycling Advisory Committee. A member of the committee sent a copy to Darienite.com.)
The difference in cost came from no paint being collected from Darien households on household hazardous waste day this year, according to Oustafine’s memo. Darien Recycling Center now accepts paint from Darien residents with dump stickers who bring paint in throughout the year. Oustafine said the town has arrangements to get rid of the paint without charge.
“The paint recycling program is available throughout the year so Darien residents are no longer required to wait for HHWD [Household Hazardous Waste Day] and the Town of Darien disposes of the paint products without cost,” Oustafine wrote.
“The paint recycling program was well advertised and used since the beginning and much to our surprise shows no signs of slowing down,” he wrote. “There seems to be no end to the paint products being discarded.”
The town is charged $24.50 per household (with some loads counting only as a half of a household), which is down from $29.50 in the previous contract (which ended in 2014).
Eight towns, including Darien, have a reciprocal agreement that when each town holds a hazardous waste dropoff day, residents from the other towns can come. Darien town government pays for the household hazardous waste from Darien residents, and other towns are charged when their residents drop off the waste.
This year, to help with confusion about whether paint would be collected, the Department of Public Works had a third employee at the dropoff site. Oustafine said that in the future, the number could be dropped back down to the usual two employees.
Instead of the town hiring three dumpsters (at a cost of $725 each, including the cost of removal the same day), the town needed only two, because paint alone was the reason for the third one, Oustafine wrote.
This year, police and DPW employees were alert for signs that someone might be dumping household hazardous waste in the area rather than giving it to the workers at the dropoff sight. No dumping was seen, Oustafine wrote.
DPW employees count the number of cars coming in, the number of households dropping off waste (sometimes more than one household can have waste in a single car) and how much comes from Darien vehicles and households. This table shows those numbers over time, going back to 2000.