You could call it a Tuesday morning treasure trove.
"Generally speaking, items aren't there 24 hours," said Louisa Tallman, senior enviromentalist with Hennepin County. "Usually one workday and they are gone."
Tallman is referring to the Free Product Center, located in the Hennepin County's Recycling Center in Brooklyn Park and Bloomington. The give-away corner is stocked with household chemicals, paint, aerosols, paint strippers, automotive products and a variety of cleaning products that people drop off at the site.
A person checks to see if the chemical isn't banned or restricted, checks to make sure the item is what it appears to be, and then shelves it at the Free Product Center for taxpayers to pick up. Items are available all week, but are restocked and open by 10 a.m. on Tuesdays.
"This is intended to not only save disposal cost and taxpayer cost, but save the residents the cost of buying this product," said Tallman. "We've had an incredible response to it."
In 2011, Hennepin County gave away 20,000 items to taxpayers, which saved $39,000 in disposal costs. Pesticides, pet products and personal hygiene products are allowed to be redistributed, but just about any other product could be offered on any given week. On one Tuesday, Money Savers found lawn mower oil, car seat protectant, clothing dye, shower cleaners, brass polish and jewery cleaner.
"You might be looking for something and it might be regularly there or it's not there for days or weeks, so it's a bit of a hunt," said Tallman. "If you want to use the item in a short period of time, you might be out of luck. If you want to plan ahead and you have a project coming up, have patience because it's truly the hunt."
You must be over 18 to take an item home, and you also have to fill out a form, noting exactly what you are taking.
Shannon Slatton, reporting
Wednesday, August 08, 2012