Visitors to Auburn Maine may see the strange assortment of items piled by the curbs as trash, but residents of the area view spring clean up time as a community event. The popular program becomes in danger of receiving the budget crunching axe every year, but somehow pulls through.
This year our light winter and the money the city saved due to a decreased need for snow plowing, saved the spring large item pickup program.
Yes, the program enables residents to purge their homes and garages of unwanted items that tend to accumulate, but it has other benefits as well. Clearing out these items can help with fire prevention and neighborhood beautification.
In my opinion, the greatest benefit is that the spring clean up acts as a city wide "reallocation of resources."
Residents put put their unwanted items, while others drive around picking up items that they can re-purpose. Some enterprising individuals may even find a way to use these items for economic gain. I love ingenuity!
Most people start piling their items early, allowing others time to check them out before the big pick up occurs. This works out well for those who find items as well as for the city. The more items that are removed by other people, the less the city has to pay to haul them away.
I have seen greenhouses built from windows collected during the cleanup, an artist who found antique doors that she painted and used in her projects, items that found a new home in someone's garden, appliances that were picked up and repaired for additional use, and one of the big attractions - scrap metal that can be collected and sold to help a family pay their bills.
Personally, I love to see the evolution of the piles as they are laid out, picked over, and then finally collected by the city. Every year I meet new people as they stroll through our neighborhood looking for interesting or useful items.
For more information on Auburn's Spring Clean Up, visit the city's website. This year you need to be sure to call or send an email to the city in order to be included.
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