The City of Auburn’s Great American Clean-Up is so renowned, even trash collectors rave about it.
Sherri Hancel, who works for the City of Duluth, came from neighboring Gwinnett County to observe the local event last weekend after a representative from Republic Services recommended Parks and Leisure Services coordinator Charlotte Ewing as a model organizer for clean up events.
Auburn, with a population of about 7,500, pales in comparison to Duluth’s more than 22,000 residents. However, Hancel said the local event was an eye opener.
“I didn’t realize the amount of stuff that people discard,” Hancel said on Friday. “If they have 7,500 [people] and they are getting this kind of trash on a Friday morning before noon, what is that going to look like for the city of Duluth on a Saturday? I wouldn’t have been prepared for that.”
Hancel said that Ewing’s already workable rotation in Auburn could be implemented in Duluth when it holds a clean up event in late June.
“[Ewing] put me in contact with the electronics people and the tire people, so it’s like, instead of me reinventing the wheel and figuring this out for myself, she has done it for many years and she’s got it in this nice, little rotation,” said Hancel.
For two days, Friday and Saturday, city workers collected trash and unwanted usable items by the pound, gallon and ton.
This was Ewing’s fourth year handling the event for Auburn.
“Our previous mayor talked to me about beginning this,” said Ewing. “We did and since, it has just grown and grown. We were actually flabbergasted the first go round.”
The city collected tires, batteries, motor oil, metal, electronics, eyeglasses, and otherwise, just unwanted junk.
United Sanitation, the trash collectors in contract with the city of Auburn, provided the dumpsters, drivers, hauls and landfill costs, for the event.
Any collected tires were picked up by Liberty Tire Recycling out of Atlanta, which charged donors small fees to haul the tires from Auburn.
The city used CompuPoint USA, LLC, in Norcross, for the disposal of unwanted electronics.
CompuPoint USA has an on-site collection service and processing plant, and will recycle computer monitors, CRT Screens, stereo systems, laptops, LCD screens, printers, copiers, fax machines, calculators, computer towers, keyboards, mice, cell phones, speakers and telephones.
Ewing said CompuPoint even accepts television sets at no charge to the city.
As far as usable items, which were items people discarded to city workers that could go to use for others, Ewing struck a deal with Angie’s Thrift Store in Commerce, which would send a driver to come load up the items.
“We have so much stuff that is actually usable that is brought and can be reused,” said Ewing. “They will actually take stuff and clean it. And some things they can actually repair.”
Ewing said that people love finding out that there is a thrift store locally that will accept unwanted items.
In addition to unwanted items and other people’s trash, the city collected eyeglasses for Lion’s Club International members.
According to its website, the recycled eyeglass program can provide a pair of recycled eyeglasses at less than $.08 a person.
The Lion’s Club is partners with an organization that can test the prescription in the glasses and connect it with someone who needs the glasses, said Ewing.