Spring weather — a welcome change after 131 days of snow — offers ample opportunity to clean up communities and take part in a new, viral trend, #TrashTag. For the past month, social media users have been challenging each other to clean up trash and post photos online using the hashtag #TrashTag. Upcoming area cleanup events will provide residents the chance to go viral and help their communities:
Earth Day: Events will take place on the days leading up to and including Earth Day, which is Monday, April 22, this year. Those unable to attend an event can help tidy up their neighborhood by picking up litter and other trash. With recent flooding, stay away from swollen riverbanks.
Cleanup Week: The event allows residents to dispose of tires, appliances and other large items at no charge on their garbage collection day. This year, the communities of Fargo, Moorhead, Dilworth, West Fargo and Clay County will participate in Cleanup Week from Monday, May 6, through Friday, May 10. Moorhead’s Oakport neighborhood cleanup will take place on Tuesday, May 14.
The rules are the same for Cleanup Week as in years past. The basic rules for Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo, Dilworth, Minn., and Clay County are:
Separate items of the same type into distinct piles; tires, appliances, furniture, brush, household garbage, etc. Separate trucks collect the items.
Place garbage in disposable containers, except for oversized items.
Items will be collected on residents’ normal garbage pickup day. Do not set items out more than one day early.
Crews will not return to pick up garbage set out too late.
Remove refrigerator and freezer doors. Do not place food or any other waste inside appliances.
Items must be from residences; no commercial waste will be accepted. Keep household garbage at least 4 feet away from other Cleanup Week items.
Fargo sanitation workers are expecting another big haul from Cleanup Week, which resulted in 2,073 tons of garbage in 2018 and 1,930 tons in 2017.
Fargo is one of a few cities in North Dakota that offers Cleanup Week. The communities that do not participate often receive environmental health and nuisance complaints throughout the year related to garbage piling up at residences. Those complaints cause cities time and money, Ludlum said.
“(Cleanup Week) allows folks to clean out their garages, sheds and backyards so it doesn’t become a problem,” said Terry Ludlum, Fargo’s solid waste utility director. “If you have a neighbor who has a couch, a chair and a mattress and they don’t know how to get rid of it, pretty soon items are collecting in their backyard and it creates an issue, an eyesore, potential rodent issue and that leads to a complaint and environmental health has to get involved.”
“A clean community is a safer community,” he said.
Ludlum shared a number of tips so Cleanup Week can run smoothly and to help residents avoid fees from putting out too much, or the wrong type, of garbage.
Keep it together: Separate trucks will pick up different items, such as tires, appliances, furniture and yard waste, so keep items in piles. Crews appreciate items that are in small bundles. If items are left in a messy pile on the curb, the sanitation crew will call their supervisor, who will visit the residence, assess the mess and take a photo of the debris. If the items meet the guidelines for pickup, a crew will return to load up the debris and the property owner will be billed. Residents who have questions about their garbage piles are encouraged to call the sanitation department at 701-241-1449 before pickup day to avoid fines.
Leave the paint in the garage: Do not put out electronics or hazardous waste, such as paint. Those items will be left on your curb. There are separate events for those items, such as the Electronics Recycling event from 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, May 4, at Fargo Solid Waste, 2301 8th Ave. N. Hazardous waste can be taken to the Household Hazardous Waste building, 606 43 ½ St. N.
TVs: Many residents set out old TV sets, which are not accepted during Cleanup Week. Scavengers will often come by and smash the screen to remove the copper wiring inside. What’s left is shattered glass on the sidewalk and curb and a broken TV for the resident to haul back inside.
This isn’t “Extreme Home Makeover”: Don’t tear out your fence and leave it on the curb. Fencing counts as building material, which is not allowed during Cleanup Week. Residents could be charged a fine for hauling it away. Instead, call the sanitation department at 701-241-1449 and rent temporary containers for home improvement projects.
Wait until the last minute: Scavengers are known for tearing open garbage bags and dumping the debris on homeowners’ yards during Cleanup Week. To avoid this, put items out the morning of or night before your pickup day. Take a photo of your neatly organized piles if you’re concerned about scavengers creating a mess; doing so could help avoid fines for the extra time and equipment the city will use to clean it up.
Each resident who pays for garbage pickup is charged $8.20 a year for the labor, equipment, gas and other costs associated with Cleanup Week. That cost is spread out over the year as part of the sanitation residential fees.
In Moorhead, crews picked up 767 tons of extra trash in 2018, down from the 770 tons in 2017, said Steve Moore, the city’s public works director.
Moorhead will also accept two appliances and four tires (rims removed) per household and empty propane tanks with or without the valves. Read more about Moorhead’s Cleanup Week rules on the city’s website. For example, electronics are not allowed curbside as part of Cleanup Week, but are accepted for free at the Clay County Landfill, 3301 190th St. S., Hawley, Minn.
Moore also encourages residents to keep trash in separate piles and to sort out recyclables before putting trash on the curb. If sanitation crews find recyclables in the trash, the recyclables will not be separated out.
“We see a lot of recyclables during Cleanup Week and everyone’s got a 96-gallon tote to put their recyclables in,” Moore said. “Everyone should be recycling throughout the year.”
If Cleanup Week trash piles are not separated by item, the items will be scooped up by a payloader and taken to the landfill unsorted. Yard waste and branches should be separate from trash, as well. A separate pile of metals helps, as well, Moore said.
When it comes to treasure seekers scavenging through trash during Cleanup Week, Moore said some people will tear open trash bags and dump out boxes in yards. Doing so creates quite the mess for sanitation workers to deal with during those busy pickup days.
“If you’re looking through stuff, if you put it back where you found it, that does make it a lot easier,” he said. “If there’s too much laying around all over the ground in little pieces, we’re not going to pick it all up, so it leaves a mess for the residents to clean up.”
The Moorhead Transfer Station, 2727 Highway 10 E., will be open and accepting garbage for free from Monday, April 29 through Friday, May 17.
“We see lots of people bringing trailers of stuff from wherever to put on curbs in Moorhead,” Moore said. “If you’ve already got them on a trailer, just bring it to the transfer station, instead of putting it on the curb.”
Demolition and construction items, such as lumber, concrete, sheet rock, and similar items, are not accepted on the curb during Cleanup Week, but can be taken to the transfer station for a fee.
Cleanup Week rules for West Fargo involve limitations for yard waste and tree logs; logs must be less than 4 feet long and 10 inches across. Up to six tires on the curb will be accepted, as are building materials, except for concrete and dirt.
Electronics should be taken to Fargo Solid Waste, 2301 8th Ave. N., Fargo, while hazardous waste, such as paint, should be taken to Household Hazardous Waste Facility, 606 43 ½ St. N., Fargo. Trash can be taken to the West Fargo Transfer Station, 1620 W. Main Ave.
West Fargo has four drop-off sites for yard waste and compost: Dave's Tire, 1224 Main Ave. E.; south parking lot of Elmwood Park, 500 13th Ave. W.; city of West Fargo water tower at 40th Avenue West and Sheyenne Street and the city of West Fargo sanitation building, 117 Eighth St. W.
Share your photos
Share your #TrashTag photos with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #TrashTag and #cleanupfm. You can also email photos to email@example.com. We may use your photos on InForum.com or in the print newspaper.
The #TrashTag Challenge is a viral trend on social media, where people post a photo of a park or other area littered with garbage, next to a photo of the area after the poster has cleaned it up.
Earth Day and related events
Party for the Planet, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, April 20, Red River Zoo, 4255 23rd Ave. S., Fargo, celebrate conservation through activities, crafts and animal encounters; zoo admission.
Earth Day Baby, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday, April 21, Wild Terra Cider, 6 12th St. N., Fargo, activities, free birdseed and pollinator plant seeds, join group at 10 a.m. to clean up local park.
Celebrate Our Earth: Earth Day 2019, 6 p.m., Monday, April 22, Fargo Public Library, 102 Third St. N., help keep the Earth beautiful, tree giveaways, recycling tips and more for the whole family; free.
Third Annual Fargo Hiking Expo, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Monday, April 22, Jon L. Wanzek Center for Scouting, 4200 19th Ave. S., seminars about trail trash removal, trail safety, gadgets and more.
Cache In Trash Out River Clean Up, 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, May 11, rental shack at Hjemkomst landing, 202 1st Ave. N., Moorhead, clean litter, walk trails, garbage bags and plastic gloves provided, family-friendly, followed by happy hour at Wild Terra Cider.