TRASH TALK: Citizen Concerns

Over the last few weeks, county staff has been collecting requests and complaints from citizens from all over the county.

Three topics kept coming up in the emails we received: abuse and overflowing sites, the need for recycling in Pittsylvania County, and the issue of dumpster diving. Luckily, we’ve been working on solutions for all of these issues, and some of them are already moving towards being dealt with.

 

ABUSE:

There are two major types of abuse being seen at our sites. The first is that of non-county residents and construction contractors dumping their garbage in the convenience centers and green boxes.  Illegal dumping has been an issue at our convenience centers and green box sites for a long time, and is something that our enforcement committee is focused on fixing.

We are already working on five pilot sites located throughout the county, which will be manned during the day in order to prevent this type of abuse. We will also have deputies making stops at the other sites as roving enforcement officers, who will be authorized to write tickets. Many of the sites will also have cameras installed, in order to keep an eye on the site at all times.

We will also improve the signage at all of the sites, in order to make it very clear who is allowed to use the dumpsters, and for what purposes.

If you see abuse taking place at your convenience center or green box site, take note of the time and any information you have about the person who is dumping. You can file a complaint on pittsylvanialandfill.com under Contact Us, and we will be able to look into the complaint, or at least get the trash dealt with so that the sites aren’t as full for our residents.

 

RECYCLING:

Another concern that has been brought to us repeatedly is the need for recycling, and we are working to make this happen in the very near future.

“I would like to see a container for plastic bottles at the compactor sites. I currently live in Chatham and take my bottles to Danville,” one resident wrote to us.

As you might have read in the articles published after our media day at the landfill, that is something that we are in discussions with the City of Danville about taking our recyclables to their processing center at no cost, as long as we provide the bins for recycling and transport the goods to them. This would not only allow our residents to recycle, but add very little in the way to the cost of the operation of our solid waste program.

 

DUMPSTER DIVING:

“One thing that concerns me is that over a span of several weeks and months, I’ve observed several people having climbed over in the open-top containers seemingly “scavenging” for items to remove from the trash site. This is another huge problem at this particular site, and I’m certain it’s happening at the other sites as well. This must stop.”

Much like with the other types of abuse we’re seeing at our site, dumpster diving is illegal. Once an item enters the compactor or green box, it is illegal for anyone other than solid waste personnel or our contractor to remove that item from the box.

This is another concern that we believe that having manned sites will help to stem, simply from having someone watching. We are also exploring a collaboration with the Pittsylvania Pet Center to allow citizens to leave usable “thrift” items such as furniture, bicycles, and working appliances at certain convenience centers to be resold at the Pet Center.  

Remember, if you’d like to tour the landfill, we are happy to take you! We are offering tours on an appointment basis on July 12, for as many people that want to traverse the current landfill cell and see exactly what happens once you walk away from the dumpster or compactor that you dump your garbage in. For more information about the tour, email publicrelations@pittgov.org or call (540) 358-5087 to speak to our contractor.

So here’s my question for you, which I am asking at the end of each article I write. Is there something you’d like to see us change? Do you have suggestions for what we should add to our convenience centers to make your experience better? We want to know!

Send us an email at publicrelations@pittgov.org and we will take your thoughts into consideration as we work through these improvements.