If you're thinking about throwing away your broken computer with your kitchen trash, think again.
"People need to remember that if a TV or computer winds up in the landfill, it'll come back to you at a later date,'' said Stephanie Lauster, solid waste specialist for Pinellas County. "They've got components that become toxic to the environment.''
To help residents dispose of their hazardous waste, which includes not only electronics but chemicals like paints and many household cleaners, the solid waste department of Pinellas County Utilities held a hazardous waste dropoff in Largo on Saturday.
More than 990 cars pulled through the parking lot at the Home Depot on Ulmerton Road. "I saw all sorts. We saw people that drive up in Mercedes-Benzes to people that drive up in vehicles that you wonder how they still run,'' said Lauster.
They handed over cell phones, modems, video game players and batteries. Some were wearing gloves, as they carefully turned in chemicals including fertilizers, paints, varnishes and turpentine.
People look forward to coming out and dropping things off at these events, said Marissa Segundo, recycling coordinator for the city of Largo. "Actually, the dropoffs are fun to watch,'' she said.
Twenty-one people worked the event. Along with Pinellas County's solid waste department, Largo employees helped with traffic control and two private businesses, for electronics and chemicals, came to begin the process of discarding and recycling the material.
Lauster has grown used to spending her workdays in the midst of hazardous material. "Well, we do take precautions. For example, the dropoff was outside and completely ventilated,'' she said. "And the county looks out for us who work in solid waste. I see it as a job that is interesting and helping the environment,'' she said.