Otsego County Chamber of Commerce Director of Operations Kathryn Dailey introduces Steven Smith, Executive Director of the Mohawk Valley Economic Development District, at the April 11 clean-up rally
Otsego County’s Chamber of Commerce joined Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful this week to kick off Earth Day volunteer action aimed at registering individuals, businesses, organizations, and community groups to register cleanup or beautification events in the Mohawk Valley region.
The Chamber, part of a six-county group comprising the KMVB coverage area, hopes to register at least 50 groups toward the KMVB’s goal of signing up 300 cleanup crews as Earth Day and Earth Week approach.
“Oneonta has always been a stalwart environmental protection community,” said Otsego County Chamber Director of Operations Kathryn Dailey on the steps of Oneonta’s City Hall. “This city and all of Otsego County appreciate the value of a healthy and litter-free environment.”
Steven Smith, Executive Director of the Mohawk Valley Economic Development District, said groups can range in size from “one to two people to whole community groups getting together to clean up public space.”
“There are roughly 2,000 pieces of trash per mile in our state,” he said. “Cigarette butts are our biggest nemesis. They’re like little hand grenades exploding out of an open car window or ugly piles in shopping mall parking lots where people just decide to empty their ash trays.”
Through the Otsego Chamber, groups that register their clean-up efforts with Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful can receive free materials including gloves, trash bags, masks, and other assistance. Supplies are available to registered groups at the Otsego County Chamber office in Oneonta from April 11 through April 22. Register your group for the event by clicking on the KMVB banner at www.mvedd.org.
Otsego County Solid Waste Coordinator Shane Deegan said the county’s recycling rate stands at approximately 10-13 percent, “about half of what it should be.” He urged county residents to visit the county’s website for information on the on-going community compost bin and rain barrel sale (https://otsego.compostersale.com) and to visit www.recyclerightny.org for information about the state’s rules and guidelines for recycling.
Otsego County Conservation Association’s Anna Rutenbeck said OCCA and Brewery Ommegang will offer another Drive Through, Drop Off Recycling Event on Saturday, April 23 at Brewery Ommegang from 12 p.m.-3 p.m.
Drive Through, Drop Off recycling provides area residents the opportunity to recycle materials that can’t normally be put out curbside or taken to the transfer stations, such as Styrofoam, corks, cellphones and used toothpaste tubes. These items are then recycled through special programs.
The event will be set up at Brewery Ommegang’s concert parking field on Route 33 in Milford. Registrants will follow a circuit through the field, dropping off recyclables at different stations, where volunteers will unload cars, then sort and package the items for recycling. Items that can be brought to Drive Through Drop Off include rigid Expanded Polystyrene Foam (EPS) packaging, coolers, and egg cartons; natural wine bottle corks; tennis balls; inkjet cartridges; cell phones and chargers; small electronics including digital cameras, PDAs, tablets, and game controllers; coffee bags; VHS and audiocassettes, CDs and DVDs; toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes and dental floss containers and packaging. In addition, Empire Recycling’s Confidata truck will provide paper shredding and used clothing and textiles will be collected by HELPSY.
Tim Holmes, Community and Events Manager at Brewery Ommegang said, “We are proud to be partnered with the OCCA this year to host this important event. Furthermore, we understand that strong community participation is what makes these kind of events successful, so we are excited to add a bit of extra incentive by offering a 10% discount at our Tap House café for those who register.”
Drive Through, Drop Off is free, but pre-registration is required. To sign up for a time slot to drop off recyclables, visit https://occainfo.org/earth-festival/. Volunteers are also needed to help with the event and can sign up at https://occainfo.org/calendar/earth-festival-drive-through-drop-off-recycling/.