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The Callaway County Commission voted Monday to chip in toward the city of Fulton's household hazardous waste collection program in 2021.

Though administered by Fulton, the program is and always has been open to Callaway County residents as well. According to data collected by the city, about half of program participants live outside Fulton city limits. When Fulton launched its household hazardous waste collection program in 2010, it was supported by a grant, which expired in 2016. The program now costs the city about $32,400 annually.

"(The city) wanted to know if we wanted to become part of the program," Callaway County Presiding Commissioner Gary Jungermann said Monday. "The number they came up with is $10,000, which is a little less than half."

In 2020, the Fulton City Council discussed a number of ways to reduce costs associated with the HHW collection program, so the total cost to run the program is expected to be reduced in 2021. Measures included cutting back from two to one HHW collection days per month and refusing to accept latex paint.

Latex paint isn't technically hazardous waste, unlike lead paint.

"From my understanding, what they pay (to dispose of the waste once collected) is by the pound," Jungermann said. "Gallons of paint start adding up, weight-wise. The trash companies don't like to have wet paint because when they squish that trash it goes fricking everywhere."

Instead, waste customers should take the lid off of buckets of latex paint and allow it to dry out before placing it in the trash.

Eastern District Commissioner Randy Kleidnienst expressed reservations about committing to helping pay for the program. People dropping off hazardous waste don't have to pay to do so, but that doesn't mean it's truly free, Kleidnienst pointed out.

"Every taxpayer is paying for this service, whether they use it or not," he said, later adding, "I'm of the opinion that maybe this shouldn't be a free service."

Western District Commissioner Roger Fischer opined that making drop-off free encourages locals to safely dispose of hazardous waste items.

"The easier we make it for the residents to do it, the more likely we'll have participation," he said. "Otherwise, they might just flush it down the toilet."

Kleindienst and Fischer ultimately voted in favor of paying $10,000 toward the program in 2021. Jungermann and Kleindienst discussed revisiting the agreement later this year and speaking with Fulton officials about additional cost-saving measures or introducing a small fee for waste disposal.

Through 2021, HHW and electronic waste collection day will take place 9 a.m.-1 p.m. the second Saturday of each month from April to October. Appointments must be made in order to participate — call 573-592-3150 or email [email protected] The household hazardous waste collection center is located behind the Fulton Fire Department station on Tennyson Road.

The list of accepted household hazardous waste products and e-waste may be viewed at fultonmo.org/hhw-list and fultonmo.org/e-waste-list.

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