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.