Gastonia city leaders say free excess trash week has proven successful in preventing litter

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GASTONIA, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – City of Gastonia leaders are tallying the numbers following the annual fall excess trash week pick-up. Free excess trash week is held twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.

This past spring, the Gastonia solid waste division saw a near-record amount of trash collected, with nearly 750 tons.

“So I have seen everything. You name it, I have probably seen it,” said Gastonia Solid Waste Division Manager, Allison Brockman.

FOX 46 caught up with crews along Edgewood Circle, where neighbors had trash piled high.

It seemed fitting the specially designed garbage truck collecting the waste had a dinosaur on the side. One member of the crew operates the “clam truck” from up top, picking up piles of trash in one motion, while other crew members follow behind tidying up the pile.

“It does fill up pretty fast. That truck dumps probably about two to three times per day,” said Brockman.

Once full, the trash is dumped here at the Gaston County Landfill in Dallas.

“These items are being dumped as C&D material and are being disposed of properly,” said Brockman.

C&D stands for construction and demolition materials. The City of Gastonia offers free excess trash week so these materials end up in the landfill and not along roads, where they are often dumped illegally.

Illegal dumping is a problem plaguing many cities. including Charlotte. FOX 46 has documented the issue for years.

“Sometimes when the economy is booming and things are going very quickly and people seem to have a lot of things to get rid of they are not as careful about getting rid of them as they should be,” said Mecklenburg County Solid Waste Management Director, Jeff Smithberger, during a 2018 interview with FOX 46 about the illegal trash dumping problem.

Free excess trash week first started in Gastonia in 2013. As numbers are still being tallied for 2021, city leaders say there was a slight decrease in trash collected during the recent week.

“Residents have to have a way to dispose of it and the City of Gastonia offers a unique opportunity for residents to dispose of it free. Which I think is awesome,” said Brockman.

On normal trash weeks, the City of Gastonia has a rule that any garbage that is outside of a garbage can is considered excess, and customers are charged for the pickup. That fee is waived twice per year during these free excess trash weeks.

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