Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Goodbye snow, hello litter!

Photo courtesy Mat-Su Borough
Trash dragged from the trees awaits pickup
during a recent community cleanup.
Snow is mostly gone and that means the detritus of fall and winter is making itself hideously evident. Our neighborhood’s public spaces are littered with blown-around cardboard boxes, gritty food wrappers and two seasons’ worth of litter. Thank goodness it’s clean-up time!

The city of Palmer is expanding its cleanup day into a whole week this year, giving residents more time to gather things up.

Ailis Vann, administrative assistant and cleanup coordinator at the city, said the expanded cleanup event this year accommodates people who wanted to pitch in but weren’t able to do so on a Saturday. Several had asked for a different day or expanded time, she said.

Fans of the post-cleanup barbecue, don’t fret – there will still be grilled dogs and treats available on Saturday for the Greater Palmer Chamber of Commerce cleanup day.The Palmer Chamber asks volunteers to sign up by 9 a.m. at the pavilion across the street from the library. Meet back at 1:30 p.m. for the free lunch. Children taking part will be eligible for great prizes, including six bicycles from Palmer retailer Backcountry Bike and Ski. Valley Center for Recycling Solutions and Ready Recycles will also be there, with bins where recyclable litter can be turned in.

For those who want to clean up their neighborhood during the week, Vann said residents could stop by Palmer Public Works at 1316A S. Bonanza St. during business hours to pick up the big yellow ALPAR cleanup bags. Litter pickers can drop full bags off at Public Works throughout the week, or save them up and haul them over to the downtown pavilion on Saturday.

One of the most exciting changes this year, Vann said, is that the city will also be collecting yard waste – leaves and grass clippings – which will be taken to Palmer hay and sod seller Country Garden Farms, where it will be turned into compost.

Residents can bring bags full of yard waste (a small amount of animal waste is not frowned upon but please remove non-biodegradable trash from the bags before delivery) to a big, Tyvek supersack at Public Works. Vann said people bringing yard waste should be prepared to dump their bags out, not just toss the bags in the supersack, as plastic sacks don’t degrade.

For city residents on the trash pickup route, Vann said the yard waste drop-off is a great deal. Drive around neighborhoods in town and it’s easy to find garbage bins by the curb with a small pyramid of bagged yard waste stacked to the side. The city charges $2.50 per bag extra for the additional trash and most of it doesn’t belong in a landfill, she said. And the city has to pay to get it there in the garbage truck.

“It’s a super-easy way to save money for us and for the consumer,” Vann said.

Palmer isn’t the only place looking trashy these days. Communities outside the city are cleaning up too. Here's a list of community council cleanups, and contact info for anyone who wants to take part.

-- Rindi White

No comments: