Drop-off Stations: Time Spent Managing Waste is Time not Wasted

It’s Saturday morning, and your car is loaded with recycling, food scraps, and trash to take  your local drop-off station. When you pull up to the scale house, you see a familiar face greeting you. Perhaps they even toss your dog a treat before you proceed to the drop-off. This has become a routine weekly, maybe bi-weekly, event for many of you in the community.

I come from a town that does not offer curbside recycling pick-up, and very few, if not any, of my neighbors in my hometown recycle items. There was no concept of compost, and all of our waste essentially ended up in the landfill. Managing waste was kept private, with all of our waste being shrouded in bags and cans until the garbage crew showed up in the wee hours of the morning to take it away. When I moved to Morrisville, I came with fresh eyes. I had never seen a drop-off station set up quite like the District’s before. The Lamoille Regional Solid Waste Management District’s drop-off stations have created a safe, inviting, hub for customers to drop-off their household waste. Some customers choose to walk to the drop-off, some drive, some show up on bike; some celebrated having reduced their amount of trash from the weeks prior, others exchanged ideas with one another of how to reuse before recycling. It was as if so many of the customers were not hiding their waste habits, but sharing them with another- and rallying together to reduce it. While exploring the stations, I listened closely to the concerns, comments, and inquiries that were brought to the site attendants. There were praising comments regarding the improved accessibility to trash and food scrap drop-off at Morrisville, inquiries regarding what items should be recycled and what items should not, and concerns about trash loading at Craftsbury.

The world of waste management is ever-changing, and at the Lamoille Regional Solid Waste District, we work hard to make smooth transitions and provide an experience for all customers of our facilities that is simple, affordable, and demystifies waste management. Being a transfer station novice, I got to fully experience these service sites through a new customer’s eyes.  There is a unique relationship that exists between the site attendants and the community members, and to experience the conversations that take place between all of you was as much refreshing as inspiring. I see the drop-off stations as serving a critical role in our community, a place where the exchange of waste is representative of some much deeper interchanges that occur.

-Lexi Chambers, ECO Americorps Member

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