Jerry and Neighborhood Hazardous Waste Pick-up

By Julia Borbely-Brown

Several times in the past decades I have organized a hazardous waste collection morning to save you the time and effort of driving to Durham’s Solid Waste site on E. Club Blvd. On the morning of Saturday July 23, I did this again, but with a twist.

I partnered with Jerry Reese and his large truck in an effort to assist him as I assisted you. Jerry has been a trusted helper in a variety of jobs over the years for many of us.  This summer Jerry needed to repair his truck, which cost more than $1,600, as well as to move with his family, including his grandchildren. Rental housing in Durham is expensive, and landlords require a large deposit plus 1-2 months’ rent in advance.

Jerry and his wife Donna hauled off a truckful of neighborhood hazardous waste on July 24

So I invited you all to bring your hazardous waste, but also asked you to join me in making a monetary donation to compensate and assist Jerry as he hauled off our waste.  The event was a success. Neighbors filled Jerry’s truck with things like aerosol cans, fluorescent light bulbs, household chemicals, batteries, oil based paints (NOT latex paint*), cooking oil, motor oil, and antifreeze, so that they could be safely disposed of. And I am pleased to say that enough money was raised to pay for Jerry’s truck repairs and put him and his family on a more solid footing.  However, Jerry would appreciate more work, so please contact him if interested.

Can you help next time? Looking ahead to the spring, I would love help to plan a future hazardous waste collection day, or perhaps an electronic e-cycling day. It’s a simple event, it just requires a truck and a little time to spread the word.  Contact me at if you might be interested. I will send out another request for help in several months.

* With a little preparation, latex paint can just go in your regular trash bin. Mix in some kitty litter, sawdust, or sand. Allow it to dry thoroughly in the sun. Then place the can, with lid off, in your regular trash.

Community development, Environment, Health and safety, Personal interest, Stewardship and beautification