Safely dispose of hazardous waste, swap it out for something you need at the Kent Co. Swap Shop – WZZM13

November 2, 2022

KENT COUNTY, Mich. — In this week’s Money Guide, we’re not only helping you with savings but maybe even some cleaning. The Kent County Department of Public Works (DPW) wants to be sure you know about its Swap Shop, turning what some saw as trash into treasure, and also cutting down on waste.

Jonathan Neracher runs the Swap Shop and said, “I love telling people about it. I love when people come in here for the first time and they’re kind of blown away with how much stuff people just throw away.”

Here’s how it works.

“The SafeChem program takes in unwanted, unusable or just straight up ‘I don’t know what this is’ materials that you should not be placing in the garbage and we do this for free for all residents,” said Neracher.

You bring those unwanted products to the center.

“We want all waste coming in through our drop-off facility. We’ll unload it,” explained Neracher.

The items are inspected by specialists and, if approved, added to the Swap Shop’s inventory.

Neracher says think of the Swap Shop before heading to the store.

“You want to power wash your deck this weekend, come to the Swap Shop, get some power washing soap. Or, you have a paint project you want to get done. Why go to store and get some paint stripper when the Swap Shop has it for you?”

Saving you some green.

“We do sometimes have the A/C car air conditioning re-chargers. Those run up to $34. Some of these cleaning products that still have price tags on it, easily $6 to $7. So, it depends on how much stuff you grab but you can easily be saving at least $10 every time you come into the Swap Shop,” said Neracher.

According to Neracher, these efforts also help to save the planet by preventing “violent chemical reactions, you can make poisonous gases, any of these chemicals can leach out of the landfill and come in contact with the groundwater.”

These are problems that require solutions, which don’t come cheap.

“If you throw some of this stuff into the landfill, we’re going to be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars 10 years down the road cleaning it up. So, the SafeChem Disposable Program is a way to keep hazards out of the landfill and avoid paying for it more, later,” said Neracher.

If you’re interested in dropping off, SafeChem accepts electronics, rechargeable batteries, light bulbs, cleaning solutions or anything you shouldn’t be putting in the trash. All you’ll need in order to take something from the Swap Shop is to sign a waiver.

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