Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. The first load arrived at the gate at 6:15 a.m. It was a big load, a trailer piled high with stuff. Sitting on the ground, leaning against a tire, the driver was among many who came super early to the Nederland Town Cleanup, guaranteeing that they go back home without the junk and trash they gathered as part of the Annual Firewise Clean-up Event that took place on Saturday, June 3.
The cleanup was a partnership between the Town of Nederland and Boulder County and was held at the Boulder County Transportation Yard with the goal being to divert as much waste as possible from the landfill.
Chris Pelletier, the Nederland Public Works manager, says the event was a success, that for the first time he can remember the cars and trucks and trailers ran out of stuff before the dumpsters ran out of space.
A line of vehicles stretched out to Ridge Road and then all the way to the highway as people arrived early.
They turned off their engines, got dogs out of cars and greeted people they hadn’t seen for a while. It was a pleasant day and they didn’t mind the early morning wait. After all, they had been collecting stuff for the past month in anticipation of greeting the summer with a fire-wise yard.
The only thing missing was a coffee and doughnut vendor taking orders for lattes and chai.
Construction lumber without paint was added to the list of recyclables to be put through the wood chipper.
Resources 2000 filled their truck, not just recycling, but reusing the material.
Even with charging $15 a load, Pelletier says the cleanup probably won’t pay for itself, that the town will pay for the landfill dumpsters and the county will pay for the diversion dumpsters, such as: the tires, paint, mattresses and hard plastics for the first time.
At least 120 vehicles showed up to unload their trash. Public Works employee Monica LaSalle said, “Every year the town cleanup continues to improve diverting more material from the landfill than ever. This is due to the community’s dedication to recycling as well as the town and county’s zero waste goals.”
The team of volunteers guided the vehicles through a well-designed traffic flow, allowing the trailers to go straight through rather than having to back up.
Nobody complained about waiting. LaSalle says the volunteers thank everyone for their patience and for driving safely in the work zone; as well as staying committed to sustainability, which the town is doing their best to continue.
(Originally published in the June 8, 2017 print edition of The Mountain-Ear.)