(Free Press (Mankato, MN) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) April 30--MANKATO -- Residents in Mankato are being reminded that May is the month to round up all that junk in their attics, basements, garages and sheds and get rid of it for free.
If there's an old computer under the steps or one of those old-fashioned tube televisions taking up space in the workshop, this is the time to get rid of it at the city's annual Spring Cleanup at 221 Lamm St.
Every Saturday in May residents will be lining up with loads of waste to drop off between 7 a.m. and noon. Gates close at noon, so get there early, said Jim Braunshausen, deputy director of public works. Electronics, old bikes, old furniture, any kind of scrap metal, and most household junk are accepted. IDs will be checked for proof of Mankato residency.
Items not accepted include concrete, asphalt, tires, appliances, recyclable material and hazardous waste.
"It's really a good program because it keeps our city clean and our ditches clean," Braunshausen said. "It's a popular program with the citizens. You would think year after year after year we would the collection site would take in less and less, but that's not happening. We really take in a lot of garbage."
Last year about 70 tons in metal were collected. Much of what is collected, including the electronics, is dismantled and recycled so it doesn't take up space in the landfill.
The cleanup has been taking place since 1997. Another portion of the cleanup, a place to drop off unused drugs, started last year. About 45 pounds of drugs were collected during the cleanup days last year, but Sandi Schnorenberg, Department of Public Safety commander, said she is hoping that number increases this year.
A police officer will be at the cleanup site collecting prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, controlled substances (no questions asked), vitamins, pet medications, liquid medications in glass or other leak-proof containers, ointments, lotions and inhalers. Needles, syringes, thermometers, IV bags, bloody or infectious waste, hydrogen peroxide and business waste are not accepted.
People are learning about the dangers of throwing away drugs, Schnorenberg said. When the drugs end up in a landfill, they seep through the ground and get into the water supply.
Residents also can drop off drugs anytime at a drop box in the entrance to the Public Safety Center at 710 S. Front St. The drugs and other items collected are incinerated.
The city collects about 175 pounds of drugs per month, and more drugs are collected at a drop box in the Blue Earth County Sheriff's office at the Justice Center, Schnorenberg said. The city and county recently burned about 300 pounds of drugs, including a large amount of confiscated marijuana.
Most of the items not accepted during the cleanup can be dropped off at other locations:
--Appliances can be dropped off all year at Green Tech, 205 West Spring St., from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. There is a $7 fee for each appliance.
--Household hazardous waste can be brought to a Blue Earth County facility at 651 Summit Ave. on Tuesdays from noon to 6 p.m. and the second Saturday of each month from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
--Concrete and asphalt is accepted for a fee at the Southern Minnesota Construction demfill site at 3600 Third Ave.
--Yard waste can be dropped off at the SMC compost site, which is at the same location. The service is free for Mankato residents (bring an ID). The site is generally open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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