Residents dumping prohibited materials in garbage

Published 4:36 pm Wednesday, October 16, 2013

It’s been said that what is one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, but that’s not always true.

Clanton Streets and Sanitation Superintendent Dale Collins has found little pleasure with what residents have discarded in their garbage lately.

Collins said people tossing out chemicals and other prohibited items has become an increasing problem.

If Clanton city workers collect paint, for example, their load can be refused at the Chilton County Transfer Station. The workers would then be forced to go through all the trash to take out any prohibited materials.

The workers won’t pick up paint if they see it, but residents have come to realize this.

“People hide it,” Collins said. “They’ll put it in black bags so that we don’t know what’s in there. The paint will just explode in the trucks. It just goes everywhere.”

Collins said paint can be included in a resident’s trash as long as it has been dried to a solid. This can be accomplished simply by taking the top off the paint and allowing it time to dry.

Other materials not allowed in trash include other types of chemicals, vehicle batteries, feces or dead animals, including cleaned fish or deer.

Collins has seen it all.

“You just never know,” he said.

Another problem coming up recently is the use of red bags specifically reserved for hazardous materials. Such bags are common in doctor’s offices, for example, but can’t be disposed of with regular trash.

Collins said residents have been putting documents containing personal information in the bags, perhaps hoping that will deter identity thieves from going through the documents.

Another resident told Collins he was using the bags simply because they’re stronger than regular garbage bags.

But the presence of these bags creats problems for the Streets and Sanitation Department.

Collins encouraged anyone with questions about what can be thrown away for garbage collection to call the city shop at 755-2164.