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With the annual Blacks Run and Downtown CleanUp Day just around the corner (April 14), the city wanted to hear from the community on other clean up efforts. What do you do around your own home, neighborhood, or throughout the community to help reduce litter and pollutants from entering our waterways? Do you have any tips or tricks for your neighbors to help do the same? Be sure to answer the topic question below to share your ideas!

More information: www.cleanstream.org or visit Harrisonburg Stormwater on Facebook!


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It starts at the retail consumer level. Plastics are great at what they are intended to do- they last for centuries. Plastics are not biodegradable, are therefore should not be thrown into any water way. However, there are seas that are full of floating plastic, including plastic bags which suffocate animals, and coke can six pack rings which wreak havoc on a multitude of sea life. Prevention starts with the consumer to make conscience decisions not to purchase plastic products. If plastic isn't consumed, it can't be thrown away. If it is consumed, make every effort to ensure it ends up in the recycle bin. However, every day, we Happy Little Dumpsters dispose of debris at the land fill, and we see recycle trucks (including Harrisonburg City refuse trucks) disposing of glass, and plastics at the land fill, while they should be recycled.

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Molly McMahon 3 months ago

I take my trash inside my home and put it in my trash container instead of throwing it to the ground. I take my trash bags out the morning of my trash day instead of leaving bags outside overnight. This prevents wild nocturnal animals from tearing them open in search of food scraps.

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Everett Brubaker about 1 month ago

As many readers are likely aware, Harrisonburg city has ceased recycling citizen’s waste, as the “take all and separate” facility in Fluvanna has stopped accepting household waste. While recycling is a pretty complex process this sudden end is not necessarily surprising. Van Der Linde had to sort through everyone’s garbage, pulling food scraps off of cardboard, to try to get a recyclable product to sell on the market. Turns out you can’t get a lot of money for dirty recyclables. It is to this end that I urge the city, and Harrisonburg residents, to partner together to reduce waste, increase recyclability and recycling, and lead on waste management.

By 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans by weight than fish. Our ‘common sense’ as a nation has shifted. Our grandparents used to save the wrapping paper from Christmas gifts, and perhaps some of your loved ones still do something like this, as the new common sense still makes them uncomfortable. The new common sense is to use a cup made out of oil for 5 minutes, and then (if it doesn’t end up in a storm drain or elsewhere) send it to a landfill for 500 years. This does not honor our nation, our God if you believe in one, or the children and grandchildren who will come after us.

The responsibility to manage waste thoughtfully should not be placed entirely on citizens. The dizzying array of packaging variety that comes through our households is exhausting. Styrofoam containers with plastic lids, paper cups with plastic lining, foil/paper/plastic hybrids…our packing is often NOT designed to be used again. Not to mention we package in embarrassing excess (Bananas and peppers don’t need plastic wrap). A National conversation on corporate packaging consistency is required. However, with the change in waste management processes locally, we have an option to lead as a city. Or put differently, to find our roots as a people that practice foresight over hindsight. To that end, I urge the city to pursue comprehensive waste management processes. Processes that make recycling easier, that call on local businesses to reduce disposable waste and packaging, that offer/require composting services to residents so that food scraps can be turned into soil for our gardens and farms. We had to be taught to throw everything away. And I believe we can learn again to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

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Matt Hassman about 1 month ago

When I'm out walking with my child or my dog I pick up the first plastic bag I find and then spend the rest of the walk filling it. I avoid buying garbage in the first place for our home, instead opting for bulk foods and produce. I bring my own containers when ordering carry out. We try to repurpose items that might otherwise be disposed of.

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