Household hazardous waste collection returns for August as Tucson eyes 2023 schedule changes

Jacob Owens

Tucson residents can do away with hazardous waste and documents this Saturday free of charge during the city’s August collection event as officials may adjust the monthly event’s schedule for next year.

This month’s drop-off event will accept everything from old electronics to paper documents from 8 am until noon at the Pima Community College West Campus, 2202 W. Anklam Rd.

The household hazardous waste collection is meant to encourage people to safely dispose of cleaning chemicals and other products toxic to people, their pets and the environment, said Cristina Polsgrove, spokeswoman for Tucson’s Environmental and General Services Department. “This is a way for them to dispose of those things without impacting the environment,” she said.

Many of the containers collected each month are at least half-full, she told the Sentinel, with 98 percent of the substances collected being reused or recycled.

“We have a trailer at the (Los Reales) landfill that has all the stuff and people can go in,” Polsgrove said. “So whether it’s like some spray paint or solvents or any kinds of things like that, pesticides. If they’re available, people can take them.”

Individuals can drop off up to three boxes of documents for shredding, plus glass bottles and jars in addition to hazardous waste. Medical waste and trash from businesses is not allowed.

The city has an online list of the HHW that is accepted at collections, which includes pesticides, printer cartridges and cleaning products. The collection site will also accept old electronics such as cell phones and printers. Materials that aren’t accepted are also listed, including dried paint and ammunition.

City officials rotate the location of the event each month, with a schedule provided on the Household Hazard Waste Program’s website. Saturday’s location, Pima Community College West, is busy but less than last month’s location at the Eastside Service Center, where staff got people through the drop-off line in roughly 35 minutes, Polsgrove said. Pima West has a lot more space to cycle people through, she told the Sentinel.

Due to this Saturday’s event, HHW won’t be collected at Los Reales on Saturday. Normally, residents can drop it off there Thursday-Saturday from 7 am to 4 pm

Household hazardous waste was picked up at individual residences for a $25 fee before the COVID-19 pandemic. This program remains paused due to a staffing shortage. The Los Reales Landfill and HHW have now hired more staff, and the service could return next year, Polsgrove said.

Another potential change to next year’s collection is reshuffling the calendar, so the busier locations are not scheduled in the summer months, such as last month’s event. Collection may also begin earlier, “like doing it from 7 to 11 (am) as opposed to eight to noon,” she said. “So just some scheduling things to make it easier on the staff and volunteers.”

Next year’s schedule will be provided in November water bills, Polsgrove told the Sentinel.

Saturday’s collection event is free of charge. Pima County residents who live outside the city limits and those from Marana, Oro Valley and Sahuarita will be charged a $10 fee at the Los Reales location.

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