Nikki Lansford
Editorial Assistant

Rain did little to deter Northeast’s Neighborhood Spring Cleanup, which occurred on the dreary morning of Saturday, April 10. Hosted by Northeast Alliance Together (NEAT), and sponsored by the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the event gave area residents the opportunity to dispose of their unwanted items as a way to help clean up the community.

Many of the residents took advantage of the five convenient drop-off locations around the Northeast. Places such as the 9th and Van Brunt Athletic Fields and the Concourse were used for the event. At each of the locations, two to three trash trucks were lined up for people to quickly drop off their trash, bulky items and yard waste.

The cleanup ran from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. with City employees and volunteers working nonstop to fill the trash trucks the whole time. As soon as one truck would be filled, another would come to take its place, said Scott Wagner, Director of NEAT.

At this event, Kansas City Solid Waste Services was accepting a large variety of items that they themselves would dispose of. From a cat tree to mounds of large trash bags filled with unknown items, the cleanup proved to be successful in disposing of items many residents noted they had had for quite some time.

“We were very grateful that there were trucks out today so that we could get rid of the stuff remaining in the house that we didn’t need,” local resident Penelope Larson said as she waited for her turn to dump her trash into one of the trucks. “We’re out here every time [the cleanup] happens.”

In addition to the usual trash and bulky items people disposed of during this event, NEAT offered residents the ability to get rid of their electronic waste (e-waste) this year, as well. A wide range of electronics were accepted and disposed of at the 9th and Van Brunt Athletic Fields but microwaves were seemingly the most common item dropped off, said Willie Thorton, employee of the Midwest Recycling Center.

Even though the e-waste disposal was new this year, it worked just the same as the usual trash drop off, except some electronics had a fee associated with them that residents paid at the drop-off location. Televisions and anything containing freon, a non-combustible gas that is used as a refrigerant in air conditioning applications, had a fee varying from $5 to $50.

“There are specific items that have fees associated with them, and that is only because some of the materials that you find in TVs, for example, have hazardous materials in them that need to be dealt with,” Wagner said.

Thornton said over 20 people stopped by the drop off site at the athletic fields to specifically dispose of their e-waste, and all of the electronics that were dropped off will be 100% recycled.

The idea accepting e-waste during the cleanup came from feedback by Northeast residents from previous years of the event, Wagner said. Due to the high demand for e-waste disposal, he said he really made an effort to make sure it would be available this year.

Besides the trash and e-waste, another item being picked up at the cleanup was tires. Tires were either dropped off by residents at the Concourse or picked up by the Independence Avenue Community Improvement District (CID) employees.

Urban Planner and Director of Operations for the CID Mike Spady said he had spent the week prior to the event driving around to locate areas in the Northeast that had large amounts of tires to be collected.

“We already filled up a 48-foot tailor with tires, and we’re a good way through filling up a second,” said Kevin Parrett during the cleanup. He’s an employee of ABC Tire who will recycle all the tires collected from the cleanup.

As well as helping with tire pick up, Spady and his crew spent the morning cleaning some illegal dumping sites around the Northeast. He said his team of eight were able to clean up several areas along North White Avenue and Sixth Street that had become littered with trash.

The Northeast Neighborhood Cleanup happens twice a year, and is getting bigger each year, Wagner said. The event is not only a way to give residents an opportunity to rid themselves of their trash, but also an opportunity to beautify the Northeast with the help of several KCMO resources.

“I would encourage all of our residents here in Northeast that if they see an errant trash bag that needs to be picked up, help your neighbors and help the neighborhood by picking it up,” Wagner said.

During the previous Northeast Neighborhood Clean, which occurred last fall, around 64 tons of trash was picked up by the City Solid Waste Division.