It’s time to start cleaning out the garage, because the next Household Hazardous Materials Collection Day in East Baton Rouge Parish is just around the corner.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 16, East Baton Rouge Parish residents can bring in household hazardous waste like antifreeze, pool chemicals or fertilizers to Memorial Stadium in Baton Rouge so they can be disposed of properly.

Although the collection day dates back to 1985, for years there was only one event per year, which eventually led to long lines and up to a 30-minute wait to drop off materials.

In May 2009, the office starting doing two drop-off days a year, in the spring and the fall, which made it more convenient for residents, said Susan Hamilton, parish recycling director.

What they found, she said, is that the yearly pickup ended up about the same, but it was spread over two separate events, which made the waits for the public much shorter.

“Usually, the wait is no more than 10 minutes,” Hamilton said. “Most of the time, there is no wait at all.”

There have been decreases in the amount of material dropped off in recent years, and Hamilton chalks that up to consistent education. The first lesson has been to remind people that latex paint is not hazardous. If any leftover paint can’t be used, it can be mixed with cat litter until it dries and then placed in regular trash cans for disposal.

“That’s the one item that has really decreased,” she said. Any latex paint they do get now is given to Habitat for Humanity.

Household chemicals such as pesticides and other such items have remained fairly steady over time, with slight reductions because of another education effort.

“In general, we’ve done a lot of education on having people just buy what they need and then use it up,” Hamilton said.

Last year, the collection days still picked up more than 94,000 pounds of household hazardous waste. That was down from previous years, when the amount collected ranged from 104,000 up to 198,000 pounds. The largest amount of waste taken in, 233,000 pounds in total, was in 2006.

Hamilton said another reason there may be slightly less coming into the collection days is an effort to educate people that there are businesses around town where materials can be taken all year.

Items that can’t be accepted at the collection day in May include explosives, fireworks or computer equipment. A complete list of what is, and isn’t, accepted is available at the recycling website: brgov.com/recycle.

Follow Amy Wold on Twitter, @awold10.