What would happen if you planned a day where residents could safely dispose of their hazardous waste products and no one came?
It wasn’t quite that bad Saturday, but organizers of the Hazardous Waste Collection Day were “very disappointed” the numbers were down so far from past events.
“We normally have people lined up to the interstate,” said Cleveland/Bradley County Keep American Beautiful President Shari Horton as she sat waiting for trucks and cars to pull through at the Tri State Exhibition Center.
With less than an hour to go, the vehicle count had not even reached 200 — a number that is down 75 percent from the previous collection day last fall and the lack of traffic suggested the numbers would struggle to climb much higher.
The event is done twice a year in partnership with the Bradley County mayor’s office, Tri State and Keep America Beautiful.
KAB Executive Director Joanne Maskew said there are a few suspect issues that might have kept the numbers down.
“We could not have had a better day weather-wise, so I feel sure that was not a problem,” Maskew said.
She said one difference this time was the absence of notification flyers that are usually sent along with Cleveland Utility bills and she thinks that could have been a major damper on the numbers.
“I’ve had more than one person say to me, ‘I didn’t see the flyer,’” Maskew said.
“We are grateful to the Daily Banner for the great coverage they have given to us, but sadly not everyone reads the paper or listens to the radio,” she added. “I really think not having those flyers may have hurt.”
Maskew gave special thanks to the Bradley County Sheriff’s Department for their assistance in traffic control and lending jail trustees to aid in the disposal process.
“I’m not sure we could do this as well without them,” she said.
Maskew said the fall collection day is still slated to be held on a yet to be determined date, but ifthe numbers do not pick up there would need to be a re-evaluation of having two collection days per year.
“Today’s event cost $50,000,” she said. “It’s a matter of practicality. We believe this is a good project for the county and it has been a popular one. Our hope is today is just a blip on the radar.”