Use it or lose it.
Free dumping or “amnesty” days twice a month are the latest development in the county commission’s efforts to combat roadside litter and illegal dumping. It’s free and it’s convenient, but so far, turnout has been slim.
No one used the service when the center was open two weeks ago, and just seven residents showed up the time before. With little participation, the county won’t be able to justify paying an employee to keep the site open for long.
“If our residents do not take advantage of the amnesty days, the county will have no choice but to discontinue the service,” says Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Angela Manders.
An unsupervised site would lower the cost of the service, but such an event earlier this summer turned into an illegal dumping disaster that took days to clean up, costing the county even more time and money.
“It has to be a controlled environment or people are going to bring everything,” says County Commissioner David Lowman.
The lack of participation is not for lack of trash.
“It’s (litter) becoming a burden in our communities,” Lowman says. “We started this program hoping people, especially those who don’t have cans, would have an access point to be able to take care of their garbage.”
But, county crews are still picking up lots of trash on the roadways.
“We’re hoping this addresses the roadside issues because we pick it up whole bags at a time, not just scattered trash,” Lowman says. “I just think people don’t know about it.”
“Clean roads and ditches are an indication of Pierce County pride. People need to know that we care,” says County Manager Jason Rubenbauer.
“It keeps the waste off of our roadways, our ditches. It keeps Pierce County beautiful and we need to take pride in our community,” Rubenbauer says.
A clean community also has a better chance of recruiting industry and economic expansion, local officials say.
“If we want to attract the quality workforce and sustainable industries we need in Pierce County, we must tackle our litter and illegal dumping issues head on,” Manders says. “I commend the county commissioners for listening to their constituents and taking steps toward a more environmentally sound Pierce County.”
Lowman welcomes suggestions on how the county can better handle litter and illegal dumping. Give him a call at 912-614-0549.
“I’ll talk to anybody if they’ve got a better idea on how to do things, but it’s got to be cost efficient, too,” he says.
Suggestions for handling trash issues may be welcome, but if volume doesn’t pick up at the convenience center soon, the current solution will most likely be discontinued.
When can I dump?
Local residents will have an opportunity to get rid of extra trash for free this Saturday, September 21.
Pierce County, in partnership with Republic Services, offers free dumping every first and third Saturday at the convenience center on New School Road. The center is supervised from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. — or until the dumpsters are full, and then the site is gated until the next disposal day.
Where is it?
The convenience center is located at 4121 New School Road.
“It is pretty centrally located in the county,” says County Manager Jason Rubenbauer. “We want to be a convenience.”
How do I get there?
• From Blackshear — Take U.S. Highway 84 to County Farm Road and turn right on New School Road.
• From the west end of the county — Take Georgia Highway 15/121 to County Farm Road and turn left on New School Road. The convenience center will be on the right.
• From Patterson or Offerman — Take Hwy. 84 to New School Road. Turn right. The convenience center will be on the left.
Who can dump?
Any county or city resident can utilize the convenience center as long as they can provide proof of residency — a driver’s license, utility bill, etc. The site supervisor will know if someone with a Waycross address actually resides in Pierce County.
“This is for all county residents,” Rubenbauer says. “We’ve got our road folks working so most of them will know if that’s a road in the county or not.”
What can I dump?
The convenience center will take all household garbage and has a dumpster for scrap metal, too.
The dump days are ideal for cleaning out your garage or getting rid of excess trash from a party or event, Rubenbauer says.
What CAN’T I dump?
• Hazardous waste, lead-based paint, etc.
• Construction, renovation or property clean up debris
Where do I take bulk items?
Republic Services will pick up mattresses and furniture free of charge for their trash collection customers. Pickups have to be scheduled one week in advance. Call 912-280-3022 to schedule a pick up.
Pierce County’s free dumping days also coincide with the hours of operation at the Waycross Transfer Station and the Broadhurst station in Screven. Both stations take large items, and the convenience center employee typically refers residents to one of those locations. The Waycross station charges a minimum $18 fee for disposal of any items up to 500 pounds.