By JOHN E. WEARE, Keep Alliance Beautiful
“Look how much would have ended up in the landfill!”
At Keep Alliance Beautiful, keeping “x, y” or “z” from ending up in what everyone had referred to as the “city dump” is usually our first selling point for newbies or potential recyclers. I like to tout whatever the number of tons was that we processed the previous year. When talking to old hands at recycling we describe where the roughly baker’s dozen categories in our shop go from here.
So . . . what about everything our neighbors have/use that is not left for Spud to haul away? Throughout the rest of 2023 I plan (God willing and the creek don’t rise) to explore where “it” all comes from and where “it” all goes. Looking down this rabbit hole, I am considering a broad spectrum from the smelly mid-July Dumpster overflowing down your alley to where our time, talent and treasure goes to make our communities better places.
Like other column sprouts, this topic has been kept in the cooler waiting for the ideal conditions to grow. The fertilizer proved to be a routine stop in the alley to gather boxes from the Mission Store Inc. One of the volunteers showed us how what had been an acceptable (king?) mattress was now a soggy piece of refuse nobody would want, much less buy. Closer to the back door nearly a half dozen bedding pieces were piled – none acceptable when left after hours.
KAB Executive Director Kathy Worley called the landfill, which was unable to help as far as pick up. They were still partially closed after more than two inches of rainfall. After exploring other options for transport, she offered our old diesel truck as a possible conveyance. The next day volunteers at The Mission Store and our crew of three completed the task.
KAB and The Mission Store enjoy a strong reciprocal relationship that I have fleshed out on this weekly soapbox a time or two. A significant portion of our former downtown office contents went to the venerable thrift store. We process their cardboard almost daily, large bags of hangers and plastic sacks and whatever else they have. Not long ago, KAB delivered a tote of family photos that the Mission Store wanted to ensure found its way to grandma and grandpa. KAB has benefited from the store’s sales in the form of annual grants that enrich many not-for-profits here. Those are the highlights that come to mind.
As for this debut of “where it goes” – the above situation is an example of furnishing/large possessions that have worn out and no longer hold value. These items are not easily pieced out for the City, H&H or SWANN to collect in alley or roll away containers. Taken to the landfill there is a fee for disposal by the pound. As to the example of the southbound alley between the 200 block of Box Butte and Niobrara: This is an anonymous option where it can be assumed the individuals thought these mattresses and box springs could still be sold to benefit the community. (Nobody handling them last week, however, concurred). One positive is that, as has been the case throughout any rural area, this 460-pound load was not dumped in a ditch for the county or local landowner to handle.
When my family moved to the country, dumps on your place were your business. Aging implements, scrap iron, tires – whatever – may have been in plain sight, or, more often, blended into the landscape hundreds of yards away. One such site was within walking distance and a
prime place for boys to haul back treasures. Time goes on. Trash comes into town by family vehicle or rides to the landfill in a garbage truck instead of generating heat and soot in the burn barrel. There are ramifications for illegal dumping. Overall, the environment has benefitted.
Know where “it” goes? Comment via our Facebook page or email at [email protected]