Alachua County hazardous waste center celebrates 25 years, plans for expansion
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Alachua County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center.
The facility opened at 5125 NE 63rd Ave. in 1999, collecting materials containing common toxins from residential and commercial buildings in Alachua County and neighboring areas such as the Gilchrist, Putnam, Dixie and Lafayette counties.
The Hazardous Waste Collection Center is directed by Gus Olmos, who spent 30 years with the county’s Environmental Protection Department. Olmos and his faculty are currently undergoing plans to construct an additional hazardous waste facility elsewhere in Alachua County. He said he hopes to complete the expansion project by 2026.
Joshua Prouty, the county coordinator for the Hazardous Waste Center, said the facility is budgeted slightly over $1 million, $15,000 of which goes toward production of 400 gallons of biodiesel fuel each month. The fuel is burned from cooking oils, which Prouty said is otherwise disposed of through drains and clogging sewage systems.
Outside of Alachua County, the facility’s team of six coordinates 25 co-op collections, Prouty said, in which staff travel to neighboring counties lacking access to large hazardous waste facilities. There, they remove bags of waste from homes and small businesses.
The next co-op collection is scheduled for Feb. 3. at Gilchrist County.