Trash piles up as students move in

by Andy Mannix

Last week the curbsides of Dinkytown were once again lavished with the garbage bags and unwanted furniture that Labor Day student move-in left behind.

With such a high volume of waste generated in a single week, the community is annually faced with the timely task of keeping the area clean.

“Labor Day is the big one,” said Jeff Jenks, business application manager of Public Works Solid Waste and Recycling. “It’s a convenient time for students to move.”

In an attempt to combat the accumulation of excess trash from student moving, the campus and city both take extra precautions to try to keep the volume of waste under control.

With moving comes the opportunity for students to throw away old or unwanted possessions.

For students that live off-campus, the Public Works department utilizes a three-week, accelerated cleanup plan where community members are notified that they have 24 hours to clean up waste deemed “excessive,” said Jenks.

Public Works defines excessive waste as exceeding a household’s standard service, which is usually two large items beyond what can fit in a garbage cart.

If garbage deemed excessive isn’t cleaned up in the allotted time, the city cleans it up for a first-time fee of $50. Every additional time is a fee of $181 per hour.

The accelerated cleanup fee has been charged to 196 people so far this year, according to Jenks.

Kane McDermott, a junior management major, said he disposed three times more garbage while moving than he would in a normal week.

“When you’re moving you have to get down to stuff you actually need,” he said.

Jenks said the Dinkytown area produces approximately twice the normal volume of waste during Labor Day week. In 2006, a garbage truck in Dinkytown collected 229,820 pounds, he said.

Valerie Molinari, a continuing education graduate, said the amount of trash “looks bad” and gives people a bad impression of the area.

While some students find the extra garbage an aesthetic burden to the community, others enjoy the opportunity to find uses in what others leave behind.

“Basically my whole room this year is stuff that I found on the curb,” said McDermott.

When student’s move into the residence halls, they are given instructions directing where and how to dispose of unwanted waste and storage containers, said Dana Donatucci, program administrator for Waste Abatement Services at the University – which is responsible for providing the equipment and labor necessary to collect the on-campus garbage.

“Students in, waste out; that’s the best flow of it,” he said.

“We had crews running Saturday, Sunday and Monday to get through the waste generation,” Donatucci said regarding Labor Day weekend.

Jenks said the city needs to be proactive to reduce the impact of the high trash volume on the community.

“A clean city, that’s our main purpose,” he said. “That’s job one.”