One man’s trash isn’t always a someone else’s treasure, and when it comes to getting rid of unwanted junk, the curb might not be the place for it, either.
Because of the cost and the burden on resources, The City of East Peoria eliminated one of its yearly junk collection weeks, and Eureka also won’t be stopping at anyone’s home to pick up junk this spring, either. According to City of Eureka Mayor Scott Zimmer, the issue has less to do with funding in Eureka, however, and more to do with other problems.
Until this year, there were supposed to be two days when residents could dispose of just about anything they didn’t want and the city would stop by and pick it up from the curb. But the amount of garbage began to grow each year, and two days became a week-long cleanup event. Nonresidents began leaving garbage in town, and some residents were abandoning banned items, like electronics and tires. Others disposed of things that were simply too large to pick up.
“There were unacceptable garbage items being set out that weren’t on the list, and we took them anyway,” Zimmer said. “It was just supposed be two days, but there was so much junk being set out that it turned into a week, and we’ve been doing that for a few years now.”
There also were problems with damages to private property. Like most municipalities, Eureka uses backhoes to remove trash during its cleanup days. Eureka City Manager Melissa Brown said the bucket often damaged people’s lawns and landscaping, a problem the city was responsible for remedying.
“Removing the junk can be a challenge, depending on where it’s placed, and it caused some city vehicles to have flat tires,” Brown said. “We also have had issues with nonresidents bringing in junk and leaving it for us to pick up.”
So, the city is trying something new this year, Zimmer said, in hopes of disposing of the problems without eliminating the service. For one week in June, Eureka residents may discard approved junk at the city’s former sewer plant west of Scottwood Floral on West Center Street. Residents will be required to show proper identification, and all items will be inspected before they can be left behind. As is every year, the city won’t accept electronics, tires, paint or hazardous waste.
“It will still give people an opportunity to clean out their homes, but it will allow us to monitor what’s being dropped off,” Zimmer said.
Also this year, the key to the landscaping waste site on Adams Road can be picked up at Casey’s General Store on Main Street, instead of Lee’s Hallmark. The site became locked a few years ago, to deal with some of the same problems the city faced with solid waste and junk; nonresident and unauthorized dumping. The city doesn’t offer recycling pickup, but Zimmer said most recyclable material can be taken to the Association for the Developmentally Disabled of Woodford County, ADDWC on Moody Street.
Despite all of the best efforts, however, not all trash can be easily recycled or disposed of. For more than a decade, Tazewell County environmentalist, Bob Jorgensen has run the website East Peoria Green Team, which offers a comprehensive list of locations, times, rules and regulations for all sorts of waste removal.
“My parents went through the Depression and, the way I was raised, you just didn’t waste things, so I kind of just went along with that attitude and became involved in recycling and environmental things,” Jorgensen said. Through the Green Team, Jorgensen and other volunteers host events and, two years ago, began offering an annual $1,000 scholarship to high school students who contributions to environmental issues.
Cleanup days for Eureka are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 11-15 and 7 a.m. to noon June 16. Joregensen’s site may be found at www.eastpeoriagreenteam.com. Waste Management of Peoria also provides ample information on recycling at their site, www.recycleoftenrecycleright.com. Information on ADDWC’s recycling program is online at www.addwc.org/recycling.
—- Eureka revises junk collection program . —–