A recycling drive held last Saturday in Chesterfield may have been the victim of its own success.
The 16th annual event Chesterfield Recycles Day drew nearly three times the amount of traffic it has brought in previous years. The result was long lines for those waiting to drop off items that normally aren’t covered by single-stream recycling services.
“Typically, we might have 200 cars come through, this year we had 750,” said Libby Malberg-Tucker, Chesterfield’s director of economic development. “In the past we have had to cut our hours back. We were a little taken by surprise.”
It was also a surprise for at least one Chesterfield Patch fan on Facebook, who contacted Patch to voice her frustration at having to wait 45 minutes to drop off her items and at what she characterized as a lack of communication from the city.
The event is organized by the Chesterfield Citizens Committee for the Environment and went from 9 a.m.-noon last Saturday at the parking lot north of the Parks Administration and Maintenance Facility on North Outer 40 Road at the east end of the Chesterfield Valley Athletic Complex. Malber-Tucker said cars were lined up down the outer road as they waited to drop off materials.
“There were people who were waiting in line for half an hour and people that we had to turn away,” Malber-Tucker said.
The event allows for the recycling of confidential documents through shredding along with tennis shoes, light bulbs, linens, electronics and clothes that may not be suitable to be donated elsewhere. Habitat for Humanity was also present collected used housewares. Vendors providing the services including Home Depot, Remains Inc., Cintas, Allied Waste, Habitat for Humanity and Wits Electronics Recycling.
Second Event Planned
Due to the popularity of Saturday’s event, the city of Chesterfield is hosting an additional opportunity for free document shredding and electronics recycling.
It will take place from 10a.m.-4p.m., Nov. 24 at the same location, 17891 N. Outer 40, at the Parks Administration Facility parking lot. The city hosts a monthly electronics recycling collection at this location on the fourth Saturday, except for December and January. The next recycling event for all the items offered at the November 3 event will be at Earth Day in April.
There is a $5 fee for appliances larger than a microwave and for items containing Freon. For a complete listing of items accepted, go to www.witsinc.org
Demand for Recycling Grows
According to figures provided by the city, Wits picked up 45 tons of electronics, compared to 12 tons last year. Remains, Inc. took in 1,160 lbs. of textiles and 205 lbs. of shoes compared to only 638 lbs. while Cintas collected 11,339 lbs. of shredded paper against 7,484 lbs. in 2011.
Although it’s unclear what was behind the surge in interest, Wits CEO Angela Haas said a flyer issued by Recycling Becomes Me that was mailed to every resident in Chesterfield probably helped boost turnout.
“When that correlated with whatever efforts the city put out, I think those two things together made a big difference,” she said. “We collected the equivalent of three tractor trailers.”
Haas organization focuses on providing free electronic recycling while putting the recycled materials back into the local community when possible. They also organize charity drives that donate computers and other electronics to needy families in St. Louis.
WITS partners with the city to do e-recycling every fourth Saturday of the month, although they take a break in December and January, a factor which may also have contributed to the rush Nov. 3.