Indian Rocks Beach employees Tarlus Hedgeman, left, and Oran Pelham lift a mattress into the garbage truck during Community cleanup week.
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – Several extra tons of trash were picked up in Indian Rocks Beach this past week but it wasn’t the result of people suddenly getting more garbage. It was because of another community cleanup week in the city.
Four times a year the city holds the community cleanup for people with large or unusual items that they want to get rid of, a little bulkier than for a normal garbage day. Solid Waste Supervisor Calvin Warren said the results are dramatic.
“We typically pick up between 5 and 10 extra tons of trash during the cleanup week,” he said. “It is perfect for people who might want to clean out their garage or make big changes in their furniture and have to get rid of the old stuff.”
The community cleanup means that the bulky trash can be picked up free of charge, which might not be the case on a normal garbage day.
“Bulk garbage pickup could possibly involve a fee,” said Warren. “Some of it might be so big we need to get special equipment, such as our ‘jaws’ truck, to load it. Items like that might involve a fee, whereas during the community cleanup week, there is no charge.
IRB resident Hippy Laramee said the whole idea of having a special cleanup week is good for the city.
“It is important, it helps beautify the city, people take a little more pride in their neighborhood,” he said. “When they do this it means the city has the equipment to pick it all up at no additional charge. It is included in our taxes year-round. Normally a pickup such as this would involve a cost.”
Laramee said the bulk pickup is the last stop for certain items that have just come to the end of the road.
“Sometimes when you put stuff out early in the morning, somebody will come along and pick it up and take it home and make something of it,” he said. “In other circumstances people will donate things such as used furniture to thrift stores or to churches. But when items are no longer fit for either of those options, then the bulk pickup is the way to go.”
The community cleanup week actually officially only lasts for three days, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. But Warren said if there are some items still out later in the week his people wouldn’t just drive by and leave it.
“Of course we’ll pick it up, but we would really prefer if people would put out their bulk garbage in the early part of the week. We have to be sure the appropriate equipment is available,” he said.
On Monday city workers Tarlus Hedgeman and Oran Pelham had to contend with a king-sized box spring and mattress set. It took some maneuvering to get it into the back of the standard garbage truck. Eventually the items were crushed and squashed into the truck. Warren said he’s seen bigger items than that.
“It wasn’t here, but I saw a video of an entire car, without the engine, getting shoved into a truck like this and it got squashed up until it disappeared into the truck,” he said.
Warren said the quarterly pickup is popular with IRB residents.
“The residents love it,” he said. “Before the event they are calling us and asking if it is still going on. Of course people can check our website, all the latest information will be on there.”
“It is a very positive thing for the community,” said resident Laramee. It gives people a very cost-efficient way to have things taken away, you don’t have to hire somebody to do it.”