Call it a win-win situation. Brown County residents got to rid their yards, garages and store rooms of all kinds of trash Saturday, and none of the thousands of pounds of refuse will land in the landfill.
Folks hauled their junk by the trunk and truck load to the Austin Avenue overpass, where Keep Brownwood Beautiful volunteers and City of Brownwood workers welcomed it all with open bins and trailer trucks.
“We’ve been busy,” said Cary Perrin, executive director for KBB, as she was eyeing the several cars and pickups lined up, their drivers awaiting directions from Vickie Lawrence, a KBB volunteer.
Old computers, televisions and all kinds of electronic “junk”; tree limbs and brush; tires and trash — hardly anything was refused. But what was even better, a lot of what got dropped off will be reused.
Terry Shultz, the branch manager for ARC International Corp. of Arlington, which specializes in “electronic waste management,” said they expected to haul away between 6,000 and 10,000 pounds of computer monitors, CPUs, printers and components.
“What we do,” Shultz said, “is first see which computers are still working, or, can be put in working order with other salvaged parts. That will be about 20 percent of what we take. We sell those very cheap.”
Another 80 percent will be broken down and all the plastic, steal, copper, aluminum “and there’s sometimes a tiny bit of gold,” Shultz said, will be recycled.
“A concern people need to be aware of is anything that’s been soldered — and all computers and electronics have been — has lead and cadmium in it. If those go in the landfill, the rain and weather elements will cause those to leach and that’s bad for the groundwater,” Shultz said.
“We know it’s an extra step for people to recycle like this, but it’s so important. It’s better for everyone in the long run.”
Quite a few of those taking advantage of the recycling drive brought trailer and pickup loads of brush and tree limbs.
Helping Everett Keel unload a long trailer of apricot, apple and peach tree limbs into an extra-long trailer bin, City of Brownwood worker David Banks said the wood and natural products would be ground and made into mulch.
“We’ve got a pile out there already with all the storm cleanup, and we’re getting a good bit more today. But that’s OK. We’ll get around to it all, eventually. We don’t need this kind of stuff going into the landfill.”
Shultz complimented the KBB volunteers and city staff.
“We were here in September, and it’s worth noting you’ve got people in this city who care and who are dedicated. Their positive approach makes it better for everybody,” Shultz said.
“And the cooperation, to get a haul this big from a community this size, that says people are trying to do the right thing.”