The Wilton Conservation Commission is holding its annual Hazardous Waste Collection this Saturday, Oct. 25, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Miller-Driscoll School parking lot. Organizers want to make sure Wilton residents know that there’s a major change this year:  house paint and stain will no longer be accepted.

The Commission is trying to spread the word about a new paint recycling program established by PaintCare Inc., set up to allow residents to drop off unwanted house paint and stain at local businesses enrolled in the program. Historically, tax payers had to foot the bill for paint disposal.  The new program will save the town thousands of dollars each year.

Tom Sato, owner of Wilton Hardware (21 River Rd.), says his customers have been pleased with the new paint recycling program, and it’s easy for him as well.

“We can accept up to five gallons of paint from a customer per day. Then we call PaintCare when our recycling bin is getting full and they pick it up and give us a new bin within one week.”

Keough’s Paint and Hardware (1 Ethan Allen Hwy Ridgefield), is one of the local retailers participating, and owner Bill Keough is happy to take part.

“We have been a drop-off site for a full year. During that time we collected over 16 pallets (10,000 pounds) of unwanted paint. Our customers can drop off unused paint any time they visit the store rather than stockpiling paint cans and waiting for the Hazardous Waste Collection.”

The program is funded by a fee included in the purchase price of new house paint, which covers the recycling cost of any unwanted house paint or stain.

The Conservation Commission is hopeful that once residents become familiar with the new program they will find it convenient to recycle paint all year long. Full program details and paint drop-off sites can be found at www.paintcare.org.

Nearly all households contain some household hazardous waste which is defined as a household waste that is corrosive (such as acids and alkalis), flammable, reactive or toxic (poisonous). Examples include pool chemicals, pesticides, paint thinners, mercury thermometers, and gasoline. When these products are no longer wanted or needed, they become hazardous waste and must be disposed of responsibly and safely so that they do not lead to personal injury and do not enter the food chain or contaminate drinking water supplies.  Although the federal regulations do not prohibit a homeowner from disposing of hazardous waste in the garbage, household hazardous waste collection programs provide an opportunity to manage these potential contaminants in a healthy and safe manner.

The Hazardous Waste Collection is open to all Wilton residents, as well as residents of Norwalk, Darien, Greenwich, Stamford, Weston and Westport.  Proof of residency (a driver’s license) is required.  For more information, including lists of what is accepted and not accepted, visit the Conservation Commission’s webpage.