Westchester Household Recycling Center Opens [VIDEO]

Residents can make appointments to drop off unwanted items at the Valhalla facility.

Spring cleaning just got a little easier with Westchester County's Household Material Recovery Facility (H-MRF) officially opening in Valhalla this morning.

County residents can now make appointments to drop off unneeded household items like televisions, refrigerators, propane tanks and light bulbs on Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays.

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony today, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said the facility will eventually replace the county's household recycling events.

"It is the place where our residents should bring their bottles of household chemicals, your flammable liquids, batteries, electronics, your compact fluorescent bulbs, your e-waste...," he said.

Locals can also bring documents for shredding each day the facility is open, as well as expired medicine on the first Tuesday of each month.

According to a statement, H-MRF was built at a cost of $3 million to Westchester County, with half the funds to be reimbursed by a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation grant. The state's Household Hazardous Waste Grant Program will also fund half of the facility's annual disposal costs.

The statement reads, "The county expects to save money over the long term because it costs less to operate a permanent facility than to host several collection events per year."

Said Astorino, "We continue to be a national leader in recycling, where we have a 52 percent recycling rate in 2011, compared to the national average of 35 percent."

In 2011, the county estimated collecting 17,000 gallons of liquid hazardous waste, 47 tons of solid hazardous waste, 200 tons of electronics and 9,8000 pounds of old medication at its Household Material Recovery Days.

The items collected at H-MRF will continue to be disposed of safely, and, in some cases, sold to manufacturers, Astorino said.

Further, the small amounts of gas from discarded propane tanks will be used to heat the building.

While use of H-MRF is free for most county residents, fees apply for residents of Bedford, Lewisboro, New Castle, North Castle, North Salem, Pound Ridge and Somers—municipalities not in the county's Refuse Disposal District. Locals from these areas will be charged a per pound or per unit fee for disposal (75 cents for each pound of chemicals or $5-10 for each appliance, for example).

"Since I directly represent two of the communities not in the trash-hauling district...this would be an incentive for them to consider joining the district," suggested Michael Kaplowitz (D-Somers), district 4 Westchester County legislator and chair of the legislature's Environment & Energy committee.

Kaplowitz said H-MRF could potentially make household recycling more cost effective for municipalities down the line.

"I'm very proud of everything that Westchester does for recycling," said Astorino. "We have a great history and it's getting better and better."

Appointments to drop items off at H-MRF (15 Woods Rd. Valhalla) are available Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. You can sign up for a time slot electronically or by calling (914) 813-5425.

R. Camilo April 13, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Residents of Westchester county should not have to pay any fees what so ever, all other counties should have to pay a fee, contractors should have to pay as well. Residents of Westchester as a whole will NOT want to pay a fee and have to pay for gas to get to use this facility, you are making a BIG mistake . . . as always. Make it FREE to all Westchester residents . . . that's the smart thing to do, after all, the county will probably sell almost everything to recycling companies anyway, Geez!
George Datino April 13, 2012 at 10:58 AM
I went out to the schedule and this Saturday is pretty much booked already. I hope that the limited number of hours available will afford the people who want to use the facility time to actually use it. With most people working all week, one will be lucky to be able to get an appointment during the 5 hours it is open on Saturday. Maybe, weekend hours will be expanded since I would bet most people will only have the weekends to do their cleaning and have the chance to get there.
Dan Seidel April 13, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Westchester CO collects garbage and uses it from all those municipalities who have signed onto the refuse agreement. The munis that have not signed on have private collections (mostly north county). Like Kaplowitz says, join up to save. do your own cost benefit chart - the munis in the agreement send refuse to Peekskill where it is burned and turned into electricty.... and ash needing landfill. Now only if the County would place a plasma gasifier at the Peekskill plant to take care of the ash (turns it into a high quality building contruction aggregate material/inert glass slag) and produce more electricty and syngas. It takes $$$ to run the garbage collection - either join up or pay up.
C Gajowski May 23, 2012 at 08:05 PM
I am happy that Westchester is in many ways ahead of the game. Still we have a major issue in that many items - sold legally and sometimes encouraged or mandated - such as the new fluorescents and LED bulbs, all manner of tech stuff, etc - are supposed to be handled separately from usual refuse. But It is impossible for the entire population of Westchester ( or NYS or the US) to comply ( a much smaller % will willingly - and are able to - bring this particular trash in by themselves. In my view - nothing so hazardous that it requires special handling should be sold UNLESS the price includes the real cost of disposal and a plan that will work. ( As someone who has used the CFL bulbs -- I have found that it's more of a problem than I could have expected - and more of an expense - as none of these bulbs have ever lasted for even 1/2 the projected time) Most " bad" trash will end up being taken to the burn plant.


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