Richmond waste roundup combats illegal dumping
on September 18, 2019
A steady line of vehicles pulled into the parking lot of Richmond’s Galileo Club, most of them carrying old mattresses, hazardous household waste and empty propane tanks. Workers in neon vests unfastened the cushy bedding and large containers, moving and stacking the items like a well-oiled machine.
The scene was Richmond’s annual Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection drive, which this year fell on Saturday, Sept. 14. The event invites citizens of West County not only to dispose of domestic waste but also get a free pound of propane to refill cylinders, incentivizing users to reuse instead of dumping old tanks. The 2019 drive has expanded over previous years to accept mattresses and box springs.
The collection drew 379 participants and collected 22.5 tons of household waste including 164 mattresses – a significant rise from last year’s haul. Organized jointly by the City of Richmond, Recyclemore, West County Resource Recovery, and Republic Services, the event aimed not only to provide an outlet for safe dumping but also to inform locals about available resources.
“Outreach and education go hand in hand,” said Nicole Forte, Operations Supervisor at the West County Resource Recovery Facility. She said uninformed citizens and unmonitored dumping go together. Echoing the call for greater environmental awareness, Christina Leard, HHW Manager at Republic Services, urged people to choose sustainability and appropriate collection points over the easy illegal option: throwing waste on random streets.
Richmond City Councilman and Vice Mayor Ben Choi drove out to support the event and push his broader platform of advocating for environmental protection. “Richmond does host facilities [to collect waste] but people often dump it on the way there,” Choi said, adding, “but not all the dumping is Richmond people.” To combat the increase in illegal dumping, authorities are experimenting with CCTV and finding ways to enforce laws. “We’re doing a lot,” Choi said.
Peter Nuti, Manager at Republic Services, concluded the drive and its increased haul was “a direct result of the city of Richmond being active.”
The annual event is expected to take place again in 2020.
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