Spring cleaning totals increase

Published 5:00 am Monday, June 8, 2009

A two-year trend of decreasing tonnage in the annual GreatAmerican Cleanup was broken this year after Lincoln County’s springcleaners brought twice the amount of garbage to the big trash binsin April and May, officials reported.

Keep Lincoln County Beautiful member Homer Richardson said atotal of 289 tons of garbage were deposited at the five dump sitesthis year, more than twice the amount of last year’s 120-ton eventand the biggest total since 2006. Though the increase in tonnageserved to dash officials’ hopes the county’s waste was close tobeing eliminated, it still results in less trash scattered aroundthe countryside – which is what the cleanup is designed for, hesaid.

“I have no way of knowing, but it appears we’re getting somebleed over where people are also being more careful with litter,”Richardson said. “I don’t see as much litter out on the roadside.It just seems like there’s less out there, which suits me justfine.”

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Richardson said the increase in tonnage could be attributed tothe publicity surrounding the annual event. He said thewell-advertised cleanup may cause neighbors to politely shame eachother into action.

“People say, ‘You know, you need to get that stuff cleaned up -there’s a bin close by,'” Richardson pondered. “I think people justget reminded to be sure to go out there and get rid of that oldstuff.”

Besides the 289 tons of litter, debris and bulky waste material,Richardson said 11.8 tons of white goods – such as appliances – andmetal were collected in the cleanup. The event also gathered in anabnormally high number of tires – 3,782 – and 50 batteries. Thecleanup also collected a large amount of barbed wire, an item oftenturned away by recyclers because of its ability to wrap around anddamage machinery, he said.

Richardson said the increase in metal items collected is likelydue to a low scrap metal price, whereas last year – when scrapprices were high – few metal items were collected.

Lincoln County Litter Control Coordinator Ronnie Durr said thecleanup also collected more paint this year than ever before, whichhad to be transported to Jackson for disposal.

“I want to give the city of Jackson a little plug – they werevery helpful to us in getting rid of that paint,” he said.

Durr said the cleanup may have been utilized by residents ofsurrounding counties, further pumping up the total tonnage.

“It’s good, because the other counties don’t participate in aprogram like this, so it gives them an opportunity to discard somestuff that ordinarily would be on the back roads of their county,”he said. “It all works out. Overall, we had an excellentcleanup.”

As usual, this year’s cleanup saw a few interesting andout-of-the-ordinary items deposited at the dumpsites. Durr said

one item in particular caused him and his crew much grief, buthe brought it on himself.

“We had a person call and ask about a boat, a fiberglass boat,and I said well just bring it on,” he said. “I was thinking itwould be a little fishing boat, but they drove up there with thatthing, it must have been 16 feet long. That thing was part of theArk, with Noah. I said, ‘What have I gotten myself into.’ I don’twant to do that anymore – that thing like to have whipped all ofus.”

Durr said the cleanup also collected a pair of upright pianos, afirst for the event.

“We’ve never had pianos. Those darn things were heavy,” hesaid.

Unfortunately, Durr was unable to play a tune on the depositedinstruments.

“Those things, when they hit the ground, they popped all topieces,” he said.