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Household hazardous waste collection returns Saturday to busy East Side spot

Tucson residents can do away with hazardous waste and documents this Saturday free of charge during the city's July collection event.

This month's household hazardous waste drop-off will accept everything from old electronics to paper documents from 8 a.m. until noon at the Eastside Service Center, 7575 E. Speedway.

The collection event is meant to encourage people to safely dispose of harmful chemicals and fluids instead of pouring these substances down the drain or out into the environment, said Cristina Polsgrove, spokeswoman for Tucson's Environmental and General Services Department.

"So by bringing them to us, they make sure that they get recycled or disposed of properly, and of the HHW we collect, 98% of it is recycled or reused," she told the Sentinel.

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 event 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 webpage. Saturday's location, the Eastside Service Center, has experienced long wait times in the past, Polsgrove told the Sentinel. The last time collection occurred at the center the line of cars nearly reached Pantano Road, she said.

To avoid long wait times, residents can wait until the location changes next month or go to the city's "Sustainability Campus" at the Los Reales landfill, Polsgrove. Due to the East Side event, HHW won't be collected at Los Reales on Saturday. Normally, residents can drop it off there Thursday-Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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"Hopefully, people will look ahead and see that there's going to be events, other places that are closer or not too far out of the way," she told the Sentinel.

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, Polsgrove said.

Saturday's collection event is free of charge due to expected long lines, she said. 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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Prepare for long lines at Saturday's Household Hazardous Waste collection event. Residents can dispose of documents, old electronics and toxic chemicals at the July 9 event at Tucson's Eastside Service Center.