HomeThe CSWD BlogGeneral TopicsHow one metal can shut down an entire recycling facility

How one metal can shut down an entire recycling facility

hazmat aerosol can smallHere’s what happened yesterday when someone tossed a small container of household hazardous waste into their recycling bin:

42 recycling facility staffers had to be evacuated from the recycling facility

25 staffers experienced symptoms including watery eyes, vomiting, and trouble breathing

13 staffers were taken to the UVM Medical Center

6 different local and state emergency response teams were involved in managing the incident

The entire facility was shut down for the rest of the day, requiring haulers to find alternative ways of handling the recyclables they had collected that day.

Fortunately, no staffers were seriously injured, and all were able to return to work the next day and the facility is back up and running.

When you’re deciding whether to toss that can of pesticide or other hazardous container into your recycling bin, stop a moment, and think about the people who sort your recyclables at our recycling facility — and then do the right thing with that container:

Do NOT throw it in your recycling bin! Containers of hazardous materials are NOT recyclable. They can be damaged, leaking their contents, potentially exposing everyone who handles that container.

If it’s household hazardous waste:

Completely empty containers may be thrown in your trash.

If there are leftovers in the container, they must be brought to CSWD’s Environmental Depot (1011 Airport Parkway, South Burlington; Wed-Fri 8-2; Sat 8-3:30). Household hazardous waste includes cleaners, automotive fluids, etc. Visit our household hazardous waste page for a full list.

If it’s hazardous waste from a business:

Call the Environmental Depot at (802) 865-4663 to find out if you need to bring containers — empty or containing leftovers — to the Depot.


Most importantly, if you have any questions about how dispose of anything — hazardous or non-hazardous — please don’t guess! Help keep our staff safe and give us a call at (802) 872-8111, email info@cswd.net, or search the A-to-Z list on our website here.

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Marketing & Communications Manager at CSWD
Jonny joined CSWD in 2014 after several years abroad where he ran websites, film projects, classrooms, and half marathons. Originally from Virginia, he was drawn to Vermont's strong sense of community, apple cider, and the search for Champ.