FORT WALTON BEACH — Okaloosa County’s Recycling Office is the North American Hazardous Materials Management Association-Florida chapter’s “Household Waste Program of the Year.”

In 1991, the county received $100,000 from the Hazardous Waste Collection Center Grant managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Since then, the county has grown its program by participating in as many as 10 Cooperative Collection Center Arrangement Grants, supporting 10 neighboring counties throughout the Florida Panhandle.

Amnesty day types of events have been offered annually to a base population of about 500,000 residents.

In addition, students, farmers and emergency responders throughout the county have participated in the following programs to better manage hazardous waste:

●High schools’ and middle schools’ chemistry lab inventories: to catalog, identify and dispose of outdated chemicals

●Operation Cleansweep: collect and properly dispose of canceled, suspended and unused pesticides.

●Innovative Technology Grants: experimented with and promoted research for methods of disposing of latex paint in concrete and in a patented roofing system.

Aside from providing free drop-off of household hazardous waste to residential customers, the Recycling Office obtained FDEP’s approval to accept Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator Waste from small businesses for a fee, using its existing contract with a licensed hauler.

The permanent hazardous materials facility in Fort Walton Beach is open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. The satellite drop-off facility in Crestview is open 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.