Durango sees more trash this year during spring clean up
Interim streets manager Joey Medina said the 2023 spring clean up was a success after the city's streets division was able to finish picking up trash in five weeks and two days.
By comparison, it took more than seven weeks to complete the job in 2022. Medina credits the team's efficient pace to being fully staffed this year with 14 crew members compared with last year when the city had fewer people sifting the streets for trash pick up.
The program was launched as an option outside of normal trash pick up to remove large quantities of waste from homes.
In total for 2023, the city picked up around 4,070 cubic yards of trash, a 21% increase from last year's 3,200 cubic yards.
The city expedited the pick up process by having crews work two extra days on Fridays to meet their five-week deadline. Normally, the streets department works four days a week.
"We try to do the best we can," Medina said. "It just depends on the volume and the congestion that we have out in the alley areas."
Some neighborhoods are tougher than others to access, such as the alleyways on the downtown grid.
Medina says the alleys are narrow which makes it tough to park the city's large trash trucks.
"I think a lot of people put out more stuff this year than they have in the years’ past," he said.
Medina noted that when the weather is nice, residents are more inclined to put their trash out on the curb.
The city also produced about 155 cubic yards of mulch from tree branches and other brown waste collected during the five-week period. Brown waste is any biodegradable waste that is predominantly carbon-based. This includes materials such as grass cuttings, dry leaves, twigs, hay, paper, sawdust or cardboard.
The 155 cubic yards was not enough for the city to offer a free mulch day this year. Medina said the city would need around 250 cubic yards to have the event; the city plans to save this year's mulch for next spring.