Cleaning up Weyauwega
City residents haul in their trash
By Angie Landsverk
The city of Weyauwega helped its residents start their spring cleaning last weekend.
On Saturday, May 5, it turned the parking lot behind City Hall into a spot where residents could drop off electronics, appliances and more.
“I’m impressed. It’s wonderful that we can get rid of all this stuff. People are cleaning up their yards,” Mayor Jack Spierings said.
He brought two microwaves, a coffee maker and a copy machine there.
It was the first time the city hosted a citywide cleanup day, and residents were eager to take advantage of it.
“They were lining up at 8 a.m., and it started at 9 a.m,,” said City Administrator John Foss.
Within 18 minutes, the two dumpsters the city sponsored through Advanced Disposal were full of trash, he said.
Foss made arrangements to get more dumpsters there.
By 11 a.m., Advanced Disposal arrived with another one and took one of the full dumpsters away.
Foss said the city ended up needing nine dumpsters, which were $385 apiece.
“People kept coming in droves right up until the end,” he said. “We’re really glad people took advantage of this opportunity, even if it was overwhelming at times.”
The event went to 1 p.m., and residents brought mattresses, old lawnmowers, washing machines and even strings of Christmas lights.
Many of the items had been in their garages, basements or sheds.
Nancy Bleck dropped off an old oven that had been sitting in her family’s garage and a computer, vacuum cleaner and televisions that were in the basement of their home.
“I think it is a great thing to get rid of things right here. It was an excellent service, very helpful,” she said. “I appreciate the convenience. What a way to start spring cleaning.”
The city partnered with K9 Tech Recycling to hold the event.
The Kimberly-based electronics recycling business set up stations for electronics, machinery and metals.
It charged fees for TVs, monitors, fluorescent light bulbs, refrigerators and freezers.
As a result, that portion of the event was open to anyone.
With the city covering the cost of the dumpsters, Foss asked those with garbage to cite their address before moving on to that drop-off area.
Ald. Keith Najdowski said he was apprehensive about the dumpster piece, because he imagined they would get more than they anticipated.
He was right.
Ald. Shani Appleby and her children were at City Hall by 8:15 a.m. to volunteer.
Two hours later, she was surprised by how much stuff was already there.
Appleby said city residents who needed help were able to call City Hall to make arrangements to have items picked up from their homes.
“We had just one call for a pickup,” she said.
Jeremy Wautier, K9 Tech Recycling’s sales manager, said the amount the city saw was not unusual.
Luke Brockdorf and Adam Scott started the business about a year ago.
“We stop at municipalities and explain what we do with recycling and help clean up communities,” Wautier said.
After he stopped in Weyauwega and spoke to Foss, a representative from the company attended the city’s Ordinance Committee meeting.
The program was explained before the city set a date for its cleanup day.
Wautier stopped by last week to check in with businesses.
“They all knew and were excited,” he said.
Wautier said the city did a good push getting information about the event to residents and business owners.
Scott said the steel and metals will be broken down.
“The metals we get out of the computers saves from having the need for mining,” he said.
There is a need for events such as these, Scott said.
“It keeps all this stuff out of landfills,” he said of the items they recycle.
Scott said, “It takes up to 1 million years for a computer to break down in a landfill. Aluminum can take up to 100 years.”
He also said it is important to recycle TVs.
There is lead in the glass, and if someone throws a TV in a ditch, that lead many leach into drinking water, Scott said.
“It was really busy early,” he said of Weyauwega’s cleanup day. “There was lots of trash, too. It was nice the city incorporated that, too.”
Randy Hidde brought four old bikes there and two lawnmowers.
One of the bikes was about 50 years old.
“I had them sitting around 15 to 20 years,” Hidde said. “My wife said it was time to clean the shed.”
He thought having a citywide cleanup day was a great idea and something the city should do once a year.
“And the price is right,” Hidde said.
Foss said the city wants to have another electronics recycling day in the fall.
That one would likely be without the dumpsters for extra bulky items, he said.
“We’ll be discussing in the coming months how we can structure next year’s spring cleanup by looking at what worked well and what we need to change,” Foss said.
Ald. Nick Gunderson said the cleanup day helps everyone.
“This is the first time we’ve had this,” he said. “When there’s garbage in yards, it hurts property values and makes it hard to sell homes.”
Prior to the cleanup day, the city’s police officers identified ordinance violations in Weyauwega.
At least 100 letters were sent to residents who had violations.
The cleanup day allowed them to take care of the situations and not get cited for them.
Those who did not do so will now be cited.
Gunderson said it is all about cleaning up the city’s image.
When the city remodeled and expanded its municipal building, that was its first step it working to improve how the community looks, he said.
“Now, we’re helping out the residents,” Gunderson said.