Annual Trash Day Packed, With Waits Up To 90 Minutes

Annual Trash Day

Packed, With Waits

Up To 90 Minutes

Due To Crush, Drop-Off Extended

Until All Served At Meadows Complex

Waits of up to 90 minutes were reported as today’s annual Hazardous Household Waste Day at The Meadows was overwhelmed by donors. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Retired physician Antoinette Kuzminski was among volunteers processing paint. “There’s more paint than we’ve ever seen,” declared Andree Conklin, behind Kuzminski.

MIDDLEFIELD – “A record,” Erik Scrivener, the senior county planner, called out as he directed drivers, some who had been lined up this morning for 90 minutes, to their final destination:  the annual Hazardous Household Waste Day at the county’s Meadows Office Complex.

By 9 a.m., probably sooner, traffic was backed up ¾-miles out the access road leading to the Meadows (and county jail) and all the way north on Route 33 to Route 11C.  Drivers reported waiting an hour, an hour and 15 minutes, even 90 minutes to access the free disposal service,  staffed by volunteers and county staff.  Everything from used paint, to e-waste, to leftover prescriptions was being processed.

One driver called out, “That’s county efficiency for you.”  But mostly there was a good-natured, celebratory atmosphere – the Woodstock of Trash, if you will – with participants embracing the idea they were experiencing something special.

Conservation Officer Russell Fetterman, Oneonta, had collected 26 plastic bins of cast-off prescriptions by late morning.

“Usually by noon, there are one or two cars,” said Scrivener, casting a glance at a line that extended until it went out of sight.   The event was supposed to end at 1 p.m., but the decision was made to extend it until all were served.

No numbers – cars or or tonnage – were immediately available, but no one will be surprised if they surpass all past records.

Joe and Sam Madero of Oneonta – Joe eating a banana – called out “no” when asked if they’d experienced this kind of crunch in past years.  They were dropping off old paint and roofing material.

Karl Waldman was down from Cherry Valley on a “mission of mercy for the old school,” which was being cleaned out in anticipation of a fundraising event at the village’s former high school from 6 to 9 this evening.  Among other things, he turned over a plastic container of used batteries to Jody Taylor, county director of Weights & Measures, who was also handling the propane-tank drop-off with Tammie Miller from the county’s Planning Department.

“I think this is going to be bigger than ever,” said Tammie.

Evolution Recycling’s Mason Bruse, right, poses with members of his Gloversville crew, Timothy Hutman, center, and Carroll Wagner.  The stacks were taller than their heads.

“We were in line for over an hour,” said Edward Snyder of Cooperstown, there with wife Joan, having just handed off fluorescent bulbs and batteries at the e-waste drop-off, where TVs and computer monitors were stacked taller than the crew members – grown men – from Evolution Recycling of Gloversville.

“People are a little more educated on recycling,” said Evolution’s Mason Bruse, trying to explain the turnout.  “New York State’s enforcing it a lot more.”

Also directing traffic, county Planning Director Karen Sullivan called out a single-word explanation: “advertising!”  In the past few weeks, Hazardous Household Day was heavily marketed on and its sister newspapers, as well as other print outlets and radio, and through a Facebook page set up for that purpose.

“Advertising,” county Planning Director Karen Sullivan calls out when asked to explain today’s turnout.

With recycling facing new challenges – the latest, what to do about e-waste; the county is considering charging – the public may be more eager to take advantage of whatever free services there are.

County Rep. Andrew Marietta, D-Cooperstown/Town of Otsego, was lined up with everybody else, and declared cheerfully, “We broke the system.”

He and his county board colleagues, he said, will have to discuss what changes may be necessary – perhaps two Household Hazardous Waste Days a year instead of one.

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