Gazette opinion: Snow melts, litter stays, time to clean up

2014-04-08T08:43:00Z 2014-04-08T15:37:05Z Gazette opinion: Snow melts, litter stays, time to clean up The Billings Gazette
April 08, 2014 8:43 am

Remember the ‘blow away’ battle?

A couple of weeks ago, reporter Chris Cioffi and photographer Larry Mayer told Gazette readers about the continuing, ugly problem of lightweight, unbagged trash that blows away from the Billings landfill.

Sad to say, there are many other litter-strewn places in Yellowstone County and some look nearly as bad as the blow-away zones. Our record season snowfall has melted to reveal trash along highways and streets, on empty lots on public and private property. There’s a winter’s accumulation of boxes, bags, bottles, cans, papers, cups, everything that can be tossed out of a vehicle window, lost out of a truck bed or released from an overturned trash bin.

It’s time to clean up.

Yellowstone County’s biggest cleanup is scheduled for April 26 when the headquarters will be Billings Community Center, 360 N. 23rd St., the same location as last year.

Many volunteers are needed, says Helen Johnson, executive director of Bright n’ Beautiful, which leads the annual Great American Cleanup.

“With your help, we can better our neighborhoods and ensure that the greater Yellowstone County stays bright and beautiful,” Johnson said.

Laurel and Worden volunteers will hold their cleanup days later, on May 3.

Other groups will get an early start.

Lockwood Pride Day on Saturday will start with a cleanup at Lockwood Baseball Fields, beginning at 10 a.m. After picking up litter in the community, volunteers are invited back to the baseball fields for a celebration including live music. Concessions will be available from 12:30 till 2 p.m. with proceeds benefiting the Lion’s Lair Fund for new Lockwood school playground equipment. The events are organized by volunteers on the new Lockwood pedestrian safety advisory board.

Also on Saturday, the Billings Parks Department will host Cache In, Trash Out in Swords Park from 10 a.m. till noon. Adults and families with children are invited to pitch in for a cleanup of the park atop the Rims. After the cleanup, there will be a geocaching event and a demonstration on that popular activity.

Billings area residents also can support their parks by using the Trash for Trees recycling containers at Castle Rock Park, Veterans Park, Stewart Park and in the Lowe’s store parking lot, according to Barb Butler of the Solid Waste Division. Only newspapers and aluminum cans are accepted. Proceeds are used to purchase trees for city parks.

The Billings Solid Waste Division resumed pickup of green bins on April 1, Butler said. As you clear leaves out of flower beds and branches out of gardens, put that refuse in the green bin so it can become compost instead of landfill waste.

The Billings Sold Waste Division offers additional recycling opportunities at the city landfill on Jellison Road:

- E-waste, including such items as old televisions and computers, can be dropped off during regular landfill hours. That’s 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays and noon till 5:30 p.m. Saturdays. The Saturday hours are scheduled to start at 8 a.m., beginning in May.

- Oil and antifreeze are accepted for recycling during landfill hours.

- Anything containing refrigerant, such as air conditioners and refrigerators, can be accepted at the landfill for a fee of $20 per appliance.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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