More than 43 tons of bulky items not normally picked up during regular garbage collection were discarded by residents and taken off curbs by the Clinton Public Works Department, which got a helping hand from state workers as part of the spring cleaning.
The City of Clinton held its annual citywide Spring Clean Up effort throughout the week of April 15-19, with city crews collecting 43.3 tons of items curbside. Included in the amount collected was 162 tires, 74 mattresses and box springs, 22 couches, 36 chairs, 22 televisions and 60 other furniture items.
As usual, the cleanup week was a departure from the norm, an opportunity to set aside items not accepted as part of regular trash collection. Regular practices are suspended for Spring Clean Up Week, allowing a variety of additional items to be picked up, including furniture and appliances, as well as a maximum of four tires per household and tree limbs cut to a certain length.
Also included in the mass of collected items last week, city crews picked up multiple air conditioners, heaters, lawnmowers, refrigerators, waters, as well as a dishwasher, dryer and washer, along with another 103 miscellaneous items.
There were also 10 loads of limbs and six loads of loose leaves picked up, according to city officials.
Items that cannot be processed at the Sampson County Landfill or are hazardous to city crews still are not accepted. This time around, the city received some assistance from the N.C. Department of Transportation in the local cleanup effort.
Public Works director Jeff Vreugdenhil contacted DOT maintenance engineer Keith Eason and told him about the cleanup and inquired as to the possibility of cleaning up some state-owned roads around the city at the same time.
“He got some of the DOT maintenance staff and they picked up (along) U.S. 421, and roads like Overland Road,” said Vreugdenhil. “On Overland Road alone, they picked up well over 100 bags of garbage from Main Street to N.C. 24. They were busy picking up trash and we were picking up set-aside stuff from residences. We picked up over 43 tons of items.”
The weight the DOT collected was not calculated in the city numbers.
“It probably won’t be a lot of tons,” the public works director said, “but it was a lot of volume, because it was loose paper and bottles on the side of the road. They frequently pick up roadside.”
Over the years, city residents have regularly taken advantage of the week-long cleanup campaigns — there is also one in the fall — and hundreds of tons of trash has been removed from homes, yards and streets. The main goal of the weeks is to beautify the community and offer an opportunity for residents to participate in the effort to make aesthetic improvements and further prevent blight in their neighborhoods.
State assistance just expanded the effort, and helped further grow partnerships between between the city and DOT.
“Keith and I have been working really well together on mowing around DOT rights of way and trying to improve appearances,” said Vreugdenhil. “They’ve been doing a lot of work prior to this cleaning up on U.S. 421 with overgrown debris and stuff like that. This is the first time we put them in conjunction as a concerted effort to try and make a bigger impact. There’s a lot of litterbugs out there.”
According to Vreugdenhil, the city collected 26 tons of items, minus green waste, during the last cleanup effort in October. The 43 tons this time around trumped that.
“We picked up a lot of stuff,” Vreugdenhil said. “I’m sure we’ll do it for fall cleanup. There’s nothing but cooperation between N.C. DOT and us, and I don’t see why (it wouldn’t continue). We’re edging a lot of curbs around town with our guys, including their streets when we do it, and they helping us out with ours and theirs.”
The actual cleanup effort also saves residents money, where there would be a $40 fee to pick up such large items. While Spring Clean Up Week is complete, those wishing to rid themselves of any electronic items can do so without a fee at any time, city officials said.
“There is an electronic recycle site located on W. John Street for their convenience,” said Stacy Ray, senior administrative specialist for the city’s Public Works and Utilities Department. “Electronics can be dropped off seven days a week.”
Vreugdenhil noted that previous Clean Up campaigns have seen many residents put their large items out after their normal collection day, causing the city to extend into a second week — the city was able to avoid that pitfall last week, thanks to residents, he said. The public works director expressed his thanks to residents who participated in the effort, and said he looked forward to another successful campaign in the fall.
“The citizens were really good with getting it out on their collection day,” said Vreugdenhil. “We’ve made our rounds and we’re done. It was a great success.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.