Properly dispose of items left behind from cleanup week

Some items can be recycled such as cardboard.

JSSP Letter to Editor

Two days before curbside pickup was to begin this year in Jamestown, as I rode by one particular house on my bicycle, I noticed a person in her front yard folding up cardboard and stuffing it in a box filled with other things for disposal. I said to her as I rode by, sharing what I thought to be helpful information, “I don’t think the city will pick up cardboard.” She called back, “That’s why I’m hiding it.” That house was less than a half-mile from our recycling center. It would also have fit easily into a recycling bin for regular pick-up day.

We are in the first days following the city-wide clean-up. Kudos to the crews who worked hard and did such a good job in picking up all the stuff. It was an impressive, coordinated effort. Now we are at the stage where people must decide what to do with what was not accepted and, therefore, left on the curb. One temptation will be to “stick it to the man” and try to “hide” cardboard, dismantled vacuum cleaners, kitchen gadgets, etc., in the trash. Please don’t. Please honor the city leadership’s desire to encourage citizens to do that which is intended to be good for our community, region, and nature. Cardboard can be recycled — and should be. Electronic stuff contaminates as it breaks down. That’s why it could not be mingled with the other stuff the city picked up. But that “rejected” stuff can be taken out to the baler. Yes, it might cost a bit. We can also hold onto it until next year’s curbside cleanup week when there will likely be yet another chance to haul it out to the baler for free.

When I was a kid, our family would do the same as many others of that era while riding in the car: We’d finish our malt, chips or candy bar and toss the cups and wrappers out the car window. We, along with so many, were naïve and neglectful. We simply didn’t give it a thought — until the early 1970s when we first met the Native American at the side of the road, the one on TV, looking over the trash marring the countryside, with a tear in his eye, caused many of us to think again about our behavior. And it changed. And, over time, our collective conscientiousness heightened and roadsides improved greatly.

Maybe tears need to flow a bit more, again, for our environment. Don’t be one who responds by trying even harder to sully it, to “hide the cardboard.”

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