Rain dampens recycling event

Published 10:49 pm Saturday, April 19, 2014

During a “tire amnesty” event at Bennett’s Creek Park on Saturday, part of The Great American Cleanup and Earth Day activities, Mike Lane, Jimmy Fanny, Russ Dail and Linwood Dail add to stacks of old tires bound for recycling facilities.

During a “tire amnesty” event at Bennett’s Creek Park on Saturday, part of The Great American Cleanup and Earth Day activities, Mike Lane, Jimmy Fanny, Russ Dail and Linwood Dail add to stacks of old tires bound for recycling facilities.

An event at Bennett’s Creek Park on Saturday celebrating Earth Day and The Great American Cleanup was impacted by drizzle and the cold.

Several vendors that had signed on for the event decided to stay away, said Suzette Vida, Suffolk Parks and Recreation’s outdoor recreation specialist.

“The weather prevented some vendors from coming,” she said. “This is a learning experience for next year.”

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Vendors that did brave the non-spring-like conditions reported one or two visitors in the first couple of hours.

“One man and a little boy came by,” said Nichole Stewart of Brown Chicken Brown Cow Farm VA, which she and husband Brian Stewart established just outside downtown Suffolk, aiming for self-sufficiency.

Suffolk Master Gardeners Association’s Pam Saunders said two individuals visited her group’s display, beneath a permanent shelter, in the same period.

“But it’s early,” she said, optimistically.

Vida added, “I think the weather in general is preventing people from coming out, as well.”

But at the recycling drive and tire amnesty day for The Great American Cleanup, the draw of offloading “junk” without disposal fees helped offset the rain’s repellant effects.

Mike Lane and Jimmy Fanny of the Izaak Walton League were unloading old tires from pickups and SUVs at a fairly rapid clip, precipitation beading off their slickers.

Demand for the free service was good, Lane said, “for this kind of weather.”

“We’ve got about 250 tires so far,” he said. “We usually average about 600 or so.”

Property owners get stuck with old tires dumped on their land, he said, and such events, run by the league’s local chapter about twice annually, are a desirable alternative to taking them to the landfill.

Kathy Russell, Suffolk Clean Community Commission chair, said the tires would become things like playground mulch and road surface.

“We usually do it four times a year, but for budget reasons we have (reduced) it to two times a year,” she said of the recycling drive and tire amnesty.

Near the tire operation, Goodwill was collecting items including clothing, furniture and even electronics. Cintas was shredding paper. TFC Recycling was taking plastic bottles, glass containers and other recyclables.

“We’ll do it again in September,” Russell said. “The majority of the staff is volunteers, (but) we pay for the tires and the shredding. We want to divert as much as we can from the landfill. Saving our natural resources is huge.”

A tally of collections will be given to the city, which in turn will report to the state, Russell said.

“In this city, we are supposed to recycle 25 percent of total solid waste,” she said. “By the curbside program, we are doing that; but this helps those numbers.”