A glorious Saturday set the stage for strong attendance at Green Up Day across Vermont and in Waterbury this past weekend.
Thereafter, all major roads in the city were exceptionally litter-free, and litter was hard to find in parks, from the Ice Center to Dac Rowe to Hope Davey.
Hundreds of volunteers took to the streets from the week before Vermont’s statewide cleanup tradition since 1970. They included students and teachers from Brookside Elementary School, workers from state and corporate offices such as Ivy Computers, and members of community organizations like the Waterbury Area Trails Alliance.
Volunteers collected over 500 green bags from the City Clerk’s Office, Sunflower Market and Rodney Transfer Station.
According to Casella, the Waterbury container filled with Green Up bags and debris weighed 2.31 tonnes, an amount not seen since Tropical Storm Irene.
Most years Waterbury sees between 1.5 and 2 tonnes collected. In 2020, Green Up was postponed to late May due to the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on community gatherings. Attendance was low that year and the collection tipped the scales at just 0.89 tonnes, the lowest in recent memory.
The City of Waterbury covers the cost of waste disposal, which is usually around $500.
Rodney Companion oversaw the downtown depot filling up his dump truck. “I’ve never had more than a van full of bags before,” he said as he delivered his haul to the city’s freeway garage.
Along with filling the container, volunteers picked up a total of 57 tires which were recycled with the help of the Mad River Resource Management Alliance, according to administrator John Malter.
Like every Green Up Day, there have been notable finds and volunteer efforts to clean up areas where trash has been dumped.
Dan McKibben, a regular volunteer on Gregg Hill Road, for example, single-handedly brought two large sofas which he pulled from a steep embankment. Others provided mattresses and box springs, toilets and an animal carcass of a dubious nature – the debate at the deposition was disrupted as to whether it was a small deer or a a calf. A small stuffed hedgehog fell out of a bag and became the mascot for the day.
Students at Crossett Brook Middle School will benefit from collecting bottles and cans. Volunteer Alex McCabe was on hand to help pack and sort returnable items to clean and redeem for the eighth grade class’s trip fundraiser. Transport filled van.
In addition to everyone who came out to fill the bags, great gratitude goes to the many behind-the-scenes players who contribute to the success of Green Up.
City Clerk Carla Lawrence and Deputy Clerk Beth Jones and Sunflower Market staff handing out Green Up bags and following up on the distribution.
The City Department of Highways team lending their garage for the Green Up container (and moving it in and out of the bay)
Rodney Companion for making his transfer station a Green Up collection area and helping get all the bags, metal and tires to the right places.
John Malter of the Mad River Resource Management Alliance for his support, communications, and skill in keeping tires recycled year after year.
Casella Waste for the supply of the container, transport and disposal at a reduced price. (And general manager Bill Shepeluk handling the bill.)
Pack and Send Plus to update the Green Up banner every year with the correct date.
Woodstock Market for coupons this year for free coffee refills for Green Up volunteers.
The volunteers who worked a shift at the depot — Bill Minter, Adrianna Benson, MK Monley and Don Schneider. Steve Lotspeich and those who picked up the trash themselves and grabbed the bags picked up by others.
Green Up Vermont Coordinator Kate Alberghini for her support, enthusiasm, posters and so many bags!
A final note: Green Up Day is always the first Saturday in May. This happens again on May 6, 2023.
Waterbury Roundabout editor Lisa Scagliotti volunteers as Waterbury’s Green Up Coordinator.