When we sit and reflect on the recent hurricanes we think primarily of the wind and rain, then the damage inflicted to our houses and businesses. For many the cleanup process had us out in the humidity picking up our broken fences and roof tiles. We created neat little piles of trash as chainsaws could be heard through the neighborhoods, trucks hauling off loads of debris, load after load.
On Oct. 3, 2004, Brevard County Solid Waste Management announced that contractors have begun picking up construction and demolition storm debris. In order to have your debris picked up you must place it on the right of way, as contractors are not allowed to come onto private property. They ask you to please chop up your large limbs into four foot sections, and to separate your structural debris from your vegetative.
If you drive through Brevard today, you will find neatly piled, dried up palm fronds and ferns awaiting pickup on the side of the road; freshly cut logs stacked up on the curb; stacks of roof tiles; and endless piles of twigs, branches, leaves and pine needles.
So what happens to all this waste? Most of it is environmental waste…is that really “garbage?” Does that too get taken to the landfill?
I drove up and down Tropical Trail a few times over the course of the weekend and tracked the progress of the cleanup. My first drive had me avoiding badly placed piles of branches that poked precariously into the roadway. The next day my progress was slowed by trucks and workers collecting waste up and down the road. As I was waved by, I noted that some of the trucks were loaded with vegetative waste and others with man-made debris.
On Sunday no trucks were out collecting garbage, but I did notice that all of the refuse collected by the trucks the day before was shoved into even larger heaps next to the ramps off the Pineda Causeway. As of today these heaps are removed, but an unsightly littered field remains where the garbage heap used to be.
Why are taxpayer dollars being spent for these inefficient convoys of dump trucks that leave garbage behind? Why do we pay for the trucks and forklifts used to simply move garbage from one pile to another? How is the government planning for the next hurricane season? Perhaps we can better plan for this in the future.
What can we do to help?
Get involved. Ask the questions we don’t have the answers to. Only through becoming informed on the process can we help adjust it. If we don’t ask, they won’t care.
Mulch your own trimmings. Did you know we have places here in Brevard where we can mulch up our debris, for free? Instead of leaving your trimmed branches on the curb for the garbagemen to toss in with the rest of the refuse – take it down to the locations listed below. Just this one simple act saves landfill space, saves the garbagemen time, beautifies your lawn, and just plain makes sense.
What if a big yard, and grass clippings are your problem? Then start composting! More than 20% of the garbage produced in a home is organic. Add this garbage to a pile of cut grass and now you’re doing twice as much to help. Compost is a valuable soil amendment that helps your landscape retain water and nutrients. And what could be more efficient than a beautiful flower garden borne out of storm debris?
• To find out more about composting visit: www.compostinfo.com
• To contact Brevard County Solid Waste Management please visit www.brevardcounty.us/swr
• Brevard County residents can get free mulch at any of the locations listed below.
Call (321) 633-1888 for more information and availability.
Residents can also take their yard waste to these locations:
Mockingbird Mulching Facility
3600 South Street, Titusville • (321) 264-5048
Central Disposal Facility
2250 Adamson Road, Cocoa • (321) 633-1888
3379 Sarno Road, Melbourne • (321) 255-4366