Don’t dump the freebies

As Earth Day passes, municipal Waste Management and spring-cleaning students should first give others a chance to reuse unwanted furniture.

Earth Day was yesterday, a time for all Americans to remember the importance of maintaining our environment and to reflect upon what we can do to give back to Mother Nature. As the reclusive lull of winter gives way to spring cleaning, the Minneapolis Division of Solid Waste & Recycling prepares for the first of two âÄúMarcy-Holmes accelerated cleanupâÄù efforts, an attempt to boost public works coffers in return for a tidier neighborhood. On garbage days last year, from May 27 to June 13 and August 26 to September 12 âÄî high student housing turnover periods âÄî garbage foremen, besides collecting usual trash and recycling, tagged âÄúdirty collectionsâÄù (those piles of sofas, ping-pong tables or refuse that amassed by sidewalks). Without warning responsible parties, city crews would collect and dispose of the tagged dirties at the utility-payerâÄôs expense, for $181 per hour or a minimum of $75. Last fall, Marcy-Holmes accelerated cleanup brought public works nearly $25,000 after removing curbed items at over 300 homes. From September 2 to 6 alone, fees to local students amounted to 7 percent of all dirty cleanup revenues for Minneapolis Waste Management in 2008 . But are temporarily sparkling neighborhood streets worth having potentially useful items for new residents brought to the dump? To their credit, Waste Management performs a valuable service in removing unsightly cardboard and broken items. But the local âÄúreuseâÄù culture should not be inhibited by overzealous garbage crews that profit from some thrifty, environmentally-conscious students. To Waste Management: discern trash from treasure. LetâÄôs do our best to keep âÄúgrassroots greenâÄù a possibility.