Expanded Spring Clean-up 2018, MCA’s Biggest Event Connie Harris

By Linda Shepherd 

Spring Clean-up began in the 1980s to help residents rid their property of unwanted and difficult to dispose of items. Last year, a $2000 King County Community Service Area grant enabled us to expand our services to include electronics recycling, shredding, and a Goodwill truck, which carried off useful stuff to people in need.

This time, we emphasized Reuse & Re-cycle, beginning with Barbara Bergenty’s “Declutter to Energize Your Space!” talk as part of MCA’s Speaker Program. We encouraged people to find new homes for good items using Nextdoor Mirrormont, BuyNothing, Craigslist and our MCA website.

To further this theme, Sheldon Esteb and Michelle Naglee moved the Garage Sales to the week prior to the Spring Clean-up. By posting widely on Craigslist and social media, they even lured a couple from Walla Walla to buy stuff at our 29-home sale! Packets given to Garage Sale hosts included a Reuse/Recycling flyer to help them recycle unsold stuff.

Thanks go to the 40 volunteers who helped organize, publicize, set up tables, provide canopies, pick up large items curbside, load dumpsters, and check in participants—logging in over 200 hours. Volunteers were rewarded with muffins, bagels, coffee, Tuscan Stone pizza, and mini-bundt cakes. Thanks also go to the MCC for allowing us to use Club parking lots and tables.

Without dedicated volunteers and MCA dues, none of the following would have happened:

  • 130 families dropped off stuff at the dumpsters, asked for curbside pickup, or brought items for the electronics recycler and/or the shredder truck.
  • PlanetUSA filled their truck with electronics from 53 families.
  • Confidential Data Disposal (CCD) shredded paper for 23 families.
  • Buckwheat Enterprises recycled 7 trailers full of metals.
  • Volunteers set aside serviceable stuff and hung a banner on the tennis court fence announcing, “Free—Good Stuff Up for Grabs!”
  • 9.73 tons of junk totally filled the dumpsters and went to the landfill.
  • 15 volunteers filled over 11 Adopt-A-Road bags with trash collected from roadsides.
  • Goodwill arrived at the end of the event and took a full truckload of leftover good stuff.
  • Cost: $3215.

We’ve come a long way since April 1990, when Spring Clean-up consisted of four volunteers with pickup trucks. By 1991, the number of volunteers had doubled to eight, with two residents using their vehicles to haul 13 tons to the dump, taking 22 trips over two full days, at a cost of $700.

But there always seems to be more junk!

In 1993, two dumpsters helped improve efficiencies and the Adopt-A-Road program was added. Cathy Bruckner, who diligently ran the Spring Clean-up for many years, brought in a metals recycler, which dramatically reduced our costs. We pay by the pound, and metals are heavy.

It is a mark of success that the tonnage sent to the landfill significantly decreased—from 11 tons in 2016 to 9.73 tons in 2017. That’s the good news.

But we need your help.

We needed more volunteers in the afternoon to help load the dumpster (the morning crew heroically stayed all day!). It was disheartening that several people did “after-hours dumping”: piling two couches on top of a dumpster; tossing cardboard atop (with a name on it—busted!) that could have gone into recycling; opening a dumpster, resulting in stuff falling out and a door that then couldn’t be closed; strewing jewelry and nail polish on the grass, which could have gone into their weekly trash. Bone-tired volunteers spent Sunday sawing the couches and exposing themselves to danger by repacking and tamping down junk to below the top of the dumpsters. We’re hoping to avoid this next year!

Huge kudos and thanks go to all the volunteers who made our Expanded Spring Clean-up such a success! Special appreciation will be given at the MCA Annual Meeting.

Wendy Antipow apprenticed with me to learn the ropes, and I’m thrilled to say she has agreed to run the event in 2018! Please give Wendy Antipow your full support for Spring Clean-up 2018!

Connie Harris took requests for curbside pickups and entered pickup locations onto a map for the Expanded Spring Clean-up. Howard Harris and Bill Homanics rented and drove a 26-foot flatbed truck, while seven volunteers rode in the back of the truck and loaded curbside items.