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Medications, if not properly disposed of, can fall into the wrong hands and endanger human health and our communities. If flushed down the drain or otherwise improperly discarded, they can also pollute drinking water and the environment, and further compromise human health.
As one example, a nationwide study conducted by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) found low levels of drugs such as antibiotics, hormones, contraceptives and steroids in 80% of the rivers and streams tested.
Read more information about medication disposal.
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Rechargeable batteries and vehicle batteries can be recycled at all larger businesses where they are sold per state law. The easiest places to recycle rechargeable batteries can be found by using the Call2Recycle locator at Battery and Cellphone Dropoff Locations | Call2Recycle | United States. Lowes, Staples, and WalMart in Glenmont are all included in this directory.
Batteries of all types EXCEPT non-rechargeable alkaline (please see below) may also be brought to the town’s household hazardous waste collection events in the spring and fall for recycling. Collections are listed on the Recycling Events web page.
NOTE: Alkaline batteries no longer contain mercury or cadmium. Please either tape the leads or bag them individually in ZipLock or other baggies, and then throw alkaline batteries into the regular trash. Alkaline batteries include non-rechargeable A, AA, AAA, C, D, 9 volt and 6-volt, and lantern.
As of December 2011, per the new state law, it is illegal to dispose of rechargeable batteries in the trash. All retailers that sell rechargeable batteries are required to collect them for recycling. Please recycle at your choice of retailers or use the locator tool linked above.
Bring unwanted electronics to the Rupert Road Transfer Station for recycling throughout the year (fees may apply--see web page for details).
Most of these items may be brought to the town’s inter-municipal household hazardous waste (HHW) collection events, co-hosted with other municipalities in the Capital Region. For upcoming collection events, please check the recycling events page. There are also options for recycling or disposing of certain items in between HHW collection events.
Paint: Consumers and small businesses now have access to FREE and convenient post-consumer paint drop-off sites for the collection, reuse and recycling of paint products including most latex and oil paints and stains. For more details please visit: https://townofbethlehem.org/927/Paint-Drop-Off-Year-round.
Rechargeable batteries and lead acid (vehicle) batteries can be recycled at all retail stores where they are sold. Lowe's in Glenmont has an easy self-service kiosk between their double set of entrance doors near their customer service counter.
Fluorescent Bulbs and CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Bulbs) can be recycled at the same kiosk mentioned above at Lowes in Glenmont as well as other retailers.
Computers, televisions, and most other electronics are NOT accepted at our HHW events any longer. They can be recycled year round at the Transfer Station on Rupert Road (fees may apply--see web page for details). Staples in Glenmont also accepts most consumer electronics (though not televisions) for free recycling. Always call ahead to confirm what items you plan to recycle.
Used motor oil can be brought to most shops that perform oil changes such as Valvoline or Jiffy Lube. Please NOTE: We no longer accept motor oil at our HHW collection events due to this easy and free alternative means of disposal. See the DEC website for more information: https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/8786.html.
Latex (water-based) paint is non-hazardous, and can also be dried out and disposed in the regular trash. There are low cost "paint hardener" products for waste paint available for purchase for $2 - $3 that work for 2 - 3 gallons of paint. Or mix with cat litter or sand to help soak up the liquid, remove the lid, and set it in the sun. Once completely solidified, latex paint can be disposed in the regular trash (leave the lid off to show there is no liquid paint.) Latex paint, while non-toxic, is illegal to put in the regular trash in liquid form> because it will gum up machinery and spill down the road.
That leaves items like lawn chemicals, gasoline, and certain cleaners and solvents. We recommend using or storing these items until the next event, seeing if any neighbors, co-workers or friends wish to use them, and consider less toxic alternatives the next time if possible. There now exists less toxic products for most applications, and information is available on the Internet about alternatives to pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
Softcover books and phone books can be recycled in your single stream recycling can curbside, or recycled with mixed paper at the town’s Rupert Road Transfer Station. Hardcover books can be donated for reuse at our spring and fall collection events (please see events page), or given to interested neighbors through social media like Next Door or Facebook Marketplace, or Albany Craigslist.
Mercury Thermostats NYS law now requires mercury thermostats to be recycled. It is illegal to throw these highly toxic devices in the trash.
Any person, HVAC contractor, or Demolition Contractor is required to recycle all mercury thermostats removed from service—so if you’re having your old mercury thermostat replaced with a digital model, the contractor is required to recycle it for you. If you are replacing an old mercury thermostat yourself, you can take it to any of the following locations: https://thermostat-recycle.org/where-to-recycle/?zip=12054
The Town of Bethlehem accepts mercury containing thermostats and thermometers by appointment. Please call Recycling Coordinator Dan Rain at 518-439-4955 extension 1510 or email DRain@townofbethlehem.org.
Fluorescent Bulbs Spent fluorescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) bulbs may also be brought to the town’s household hazardous waste collection events in the spring and fall for recycling. Collections are usually held the first Saturday in May and the last Saturday in September (check the town calendar on the web site) from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the town highway garage, located at: 74 Elm Ave. East Selkirk, NY 12158
NOTE: We do NOT accept fluorescent bulbs for recycling at any town locations throughout the year.
Some retail stores such as Lowes in Glenmont DO accept CFL bulbs for recycling throughout the year. Lowes in Glenmont has a convenient recycling kiosk just inside their main entrance doors for compact fluorescents as well as fluorescent tubes, and rechargeable batteries. Contact your local home improvement retailer for more details.
When transporting fluorescent bulbs for recycling, please pad them well with newspaper and/or bubble wrap to prevent breakage and place them in a tight-fitting box or bag, or their original packaging.
Clean and dry polystyrene packing peanuts and foam blocks as well, can be given to shipping companies like Corner Gateway Printing and Shipping in Slingerlands.
Alternatively, white expanded polystyrene blocks or forms that are clean and contain no paint or tape can be saved until you have a quantity, then taken to Shelter Enterprises for recycling (you can identify polystyrene as expanded foam if is composed of numerous tiny foam beads and will separate into little balls when broken apart). You may want to call ahead to confirm their hours, 518-237-4100. Shelter Enterprises is located at 8 Saratoga Street, Cohoes, NY 12047
Medical “sharps” include needles, syringes, and lancets.
Per NYS Law, ALL hospitals and nursing homes in New York State are mandated by law to accept home-generated sharps as a free, community service through their sharps collection programs
For more information including a list of other disposal sites in New York State including Albany County, please visit New York State Safe Sharps Collection Program (ny.gov)
According to several residents, St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany is a local hospital that makes medical sharps disposal easy and straightforward. To access their sharps disposal, use the "Ambulance entrance" on New Scotland Ave, follow signs to Maintenance (towards the right). Park near the loading area. There is a sign pointing at the walkway where you go to a ‘chute’ to deposit the items. Some residents have experienced a hospital maintenance employee taking their sharps for disposal when they approach that area.
Another option is to purchase an approved sharps mailing container through CVS on-line, and mail back for safe disposal. Though please be advised, in addition to the container purchase price, the reviews state that there is an additional return postage cost ($22 as of 4/2022). CVS Health Complete Needle Collection & Disposal System
The town holds a pharmaceutical collection each year. Check the Recycling Events web page for upcoming event details.
Also, CVS Pharmacy in Delmar has a secure drug disposal boxes accessible 24/7 located on the right hand wall when facing the pharmacy counter.
Residents can bring unwanted medications to all New York Police Headquarters for anonymous disposal at any time, 24/7. Troop G Headquarters is located at: 760 Troy Schenectady Road Latham, NY 12110. After entering the building, place the meds in the clear bag provided on-site, and drop it in the mailbox. For more information, call the headquarters at 518-783-3211.
Or to dispose of pharmaceuticals safely at home:
NEVER flush medications down the toilet or other drains as they can pollute drinking water and waterways.
Please see our Green Shopping and Holiday Recycling page for details