By: Leigh Patterson
Yes, I said spring events. As we all know, 2020 has been one wild ride, and quite frankly, I am ready to get off! Here at Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful, we have had to twist around, push forward, and rethink our whole calendar of projects, programs, and events for this year, as has everyone else. We also had to cancel two of our largest events due to the COVID-19 pandemic: our onsite Earth Day and Outdoor EXPO and one of our largest fundraisers, the Duck and Run 5K.
Though we were saddened by having to cancel those events, we were able to push forward two other very important spring events to August: our Household Hazardous Waste Collection and the Indorama Cash for Trash Challenge. This was the second Household Hazardous Waste Collection that KALB has hosted, the first being twelve years ago. The Indorama Cash for Trash Challenge was something new.Both were well supported by our community and we couldn’t be more pleased with the results!
Household Hazardous Waste Collection
Our Household Hazardous Waste Collection was held on Saturday, August 29 in the Athens Middle School parking lot. We were so pleased to offer this much needed service to Limestone County residents. Our previous Executive Coordinator, Lynne Hart, was persistent in bringing awareness of the need for this type of event to our city and county government officials. It was an important issue because residents needed a safe way to dispose of the household chemicals, old paint, insecticides, yard chemicals, auto fluids, etc. that they had been storing up. The city and county worked together and came up with a plan to provide funding for the collection.
KALB would like to thank the Solid Waste Authority of Athens/Limestone County, Limestone County Commission Chairman Collin Daly (Thanks to Collin for volunteering at the event also!), the Limestone County Commission, Mayor Ronnie Marks, and the Athens City Council for working with us and providing funding for this event. We are very grateful to the Solid Waste Disposal Authority of Huntsville for partnering with us and for disposing of the paint that was collected. They were on site with us and were friendly and helpful, and they reduced our cost greatly by disposing of the paint collected. We would also like to thank Athens City Schools for allowing us to use the Athens Middle School parking lot for the event.
The collection was a great success! It was well attended and residents were truly grateful for the service that was provided. Almost 500 cars were serviced at the event. We credit our success not only to our sponsors, but to our hardworking volunteers, who were helping to make sure everything ran smoothly.
KALB would like to thank the Mayor’s Youth Commission. They raised money earlier this year and purchased breakfast and lunch for the volunteers. Thank you to the youth commissioners who also volunteered. We would also like to thank Chick-fil-A for offering a discount on the food purchased for the volunteers.
Indorama Cash for Trash Challenge
The Indorama Cash for Trash Challenge began in early March, and was supposed to end just before our Earth Day and Outdoor EXPO in April. Indorama Ventures Sustainable Solutions, LLC approached KALB with an idea to encourage and incentivize Limestone County residents to get out and help clean up our roadways by offering cash prizes. Every individual or group who preregistered, cleaned a half mile of roadway, and had the cleanup verified were entered into a drawing for cash prizes, with $1,000 being the grand prize! Some chose to clean several half-mile locations and were entered into the drawing for every half mile cleaned.
We had individuals and groups that completed their cleanups in March, just before the pandemic hit and the challenge was put on hold. The challenge was rekindled this summer, and we had even more individuals and groups cleaning the roadways. This event ended on August 31 and the results are in! There were 47 entries into the challenge, which means that 23.5 miles of roadway were cleaned. There were a total of 70 volunteers that spent a total of 170 hours cleaning, and they picked up 261 bags of litter! The cash prize drawing was held on Tuesday, September 8, and here are our winners:
- $1,000 – Laverne Gilbert
- $500 – Deb Kohlhase
- $200 – Laverne Gilbert
- $100 – The River Rats
- $100 – Tina Morrison
- $50 – The Siefert Family
- $50 – The Youth Group from Oasis Christ Church of Athens
Thank you to Indorama Ventures for sponsoring this event, and for bringing awareness to our litter issues while encouraging our community to get involved and to be a part of the solution.
THANK YOU to everyone who participated, sponsored, volunteered, and supported our “spring” events!
By: Leigh Patterson
Executive Coordinator – Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful