2001-10-11 – ANJHHWC Meeting Minutes

Location: Somerville, Somerset County, NJ.
Prepared by Carole Tolmachewich  (Hip-Hip double Horay for Carole!!!)

Attendees

County

  • *Diana Vigilante Somerset County
  • *Laura Macpherson Morris County
  • JoAnn Gemenden Union County
  • Carole Tolmachewich Middlesex County
  • William Carner Warren County
  • Brian Costantino Camden County
  • Chuck Giacobbe Camden County
  • *Fred Stanger Middlesex County

* indicates ANJHHWC officer

NJDEP

  • Robin Heston
  • Charlie D’Amico

Vendor

  • Pamela Kelly Onyx Environmental Systems
  • Mario Ianiero AERC

Others

  • Priscilla Hayes Rutgers/NJSWPG
  • Lorraine Graves US EPA

Opening

Fred Stanger opened the meeting at 10:15am with introductions.

Fred Stanger noted he had a copy of the draft EPA “Clean Sweep” report. He said EPA was asking for input. Mr. Stanger added the report listed figures for pesticides disposal and was geared toward pesticides collected from farmers.

NJ Mercury Task Force Update

Robin Heston of the DEP, DSHW provided copies of the draft form of the Executive Summary produced by the NJ Mercury Task Force. The Task Force had been meeting for many years was expecting to finalize the draft report in the next few weeks. They planned to hold one or more public meetings in November.

She said the report concluded that mercury is still a problem. The Task Force looked at the sources of mercury and the number one source was from steel/iron plants followed by coal combustion plants. Ms. Heston said they discovered that aluminum scrap processing also produced high mercury emissions, although they did not yet have firm mercury emission numbers. She noted that municipal solid waste incinerators’ emission levels had dropped due to battery and other household hazardous waste programs and they were now ranked fourth for emissions. She also mentioned that the use of mercury in religious and ceremonial uses (to ward off evil spirits) was also a concern to the Task Force.

Ms. Heston said the draft report contained a number of recommendations which are listed below:

  1. outreach/education on the dangers of mercury (especially towards cultural uses)
  2. Remove mercury from products – adopt legislation to reduce and/or phase out mercury when possible.
  3. Tie State purchasing to require mercury-free products
  4. Reduce emissions from plants. It is believed that the primary source of mercury from steel plants is the mercury switches in automobiles. A pilot project will be set up to find where the switches are and to remove them before the autos are crushed.

A suggestion was made to have a brochure printed that would target commercial generators of lamps and list markets for those lamps. Ms. Heston thought the brochure idea was good but noted she did not have time or assistance from other staff to produce any brochures.

Ms. Graves noted the EPA was working in NY to reduce the amount of dentist amalgam containing mercury that ends up in the wastewater system or solid waste system. She said they might be able to work with New Jersey on that front as well.

Rutgers/NJ Solid Waste Policy Group

Priscilla Hayes gave an overview of the past activities of the group. She said the Group had done 21 presentations to 3rd – 5th grade students on why they should recycled their consumer electronics. She noted a survey and brochure was handed out during the presentation and said they got a fairly good return on the surveys. The survey revealed that people would not be willing to pay more than $.50 per fluorescent bulb and $5.00 per computer to recycle the items. The brochure also contained labels that the students were asked to place on their computers at home. The labels say “Do not throw this device in the garbage. Contains materials harmful to the environment. To donate or recycle it, please call (County name and phone number) or visit http://aesop.rutgers.edu/~wastemgmt/“. Ms. Hayes was looking for suggestions on ways to expand the label program. Suggestions made were to provide the brochures/labels to schools, hand them out at County events, and provide them to stores that sell computers.

Ms. Hayes noted the Group had a website (see above address). It contained information on where to recycle computers and fluorescent bulbs, including County information as well as private recycling markets. She asked that counties send her information whenever they change their programs. She also said she welcomed any suggestions or corrections to the website.

Ms. Hayes mentioned that Best Buy had a one-day consumer electronics take back program in 11 of their stores nationwide. One location was at their West Paterson store, which held their collection on October 5th and 6th (Friday and Saturday) from 10am – 4pm. Best Buy charged $10 per CRT, $15 per television and everything else was free. They had very little participation at the New Jersey location although they seemed to have greater success in other States. Ms. Graves mentioned there were two factors that probably resulted in the low turnout. The first was that Best Buy pulled their advertising for the program due to the September 11th tragedy. The second was that neighboring Montclair had a consumer electronics event the week before which saw 300 participants bringing 21,379 pounds of material. Ms. Hayes noted Best Buy partnered with Panasonic and Compaq for the event and that all the electronics went to Envirocycle.

USEPA Report

Ms. Graves mentioned she did not expect that USEPA would receive any more money in their budget next year. She noted that they gave a grant to the Solid Waste Policy Group for a procurement project. The Group would examine how purchasing practices affected waste. They may work with INFORM. The idea was to create links between the beginning and end of corporate process and to train people on how to buy green. Ms. Graves also mentioned they gave a grant to NERC to provide workshops and a manual on how to recycle computers.

Ms. Graves also said her group at USEPA was working on trying to determine whether the rubble from the World Trade Center contained hazardous materials. Based on the estimated 50,000 computers in the Trade Center, they calculated there could be 100 ppm of lead in the debris. She added they were pushing for the creation of a special protected cell in Fresh Kills Landfill for the debris.

NJDEP Report

Ms. Heston noted the long awaited regulations were on the DEP Commissioner’s desk. She said they would most likely not be proposed until a day or two before the old regulations expire. She stated the current regulations would be automatically extended for six months if the new regulations were proposed before the old ones expired. Ms. Heston added NJDEP could ask for an extension if they could not get the regulations proposed in time.

Vendor Report

  • Mr. Ianiero from AERC introduced himself and noted he was new to the business. He noted if anyone needed assistance from AERC, they could now contact him.
  • Ms. Kelly from Onyx mentioned they were a service provider for hazardous and nonhazardous waste, provided training programs, remediation and other environmental services and also handled universal waste at their Flanders locations. She added they were accepting computers as a depot.

Other Business

Ms. Tolmachewich noted she was working on the annual newsletter and needed volunteers to write articles. Camden County was volunteered to write about their HHW program.

Next Meeting

It was decided to hold the next ANJHHWC meeting in January at the NJDEP building in Robbinsville.

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