ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County may set a new record in roadside trash collection in 2023.
More than 10 tons of garbage was collected from Richmond County roadsides last month.
County Manager Bryan Land said last week that county workers and crews with the N.C. Department of Transportation picked up 9.44 tons of trash from 23 roads during the month of April.
In addition, 93 volunteers for the Spring Litter Sweep filled 105 bags with 1,236 pounds of refuse, according to Land.
He added that efforts were slightly hampered due to weather, “but we still had a strong turnout.”
The Litter Sweep is an effort by NCDOT to get the communities across the state involved in keeping roads clean in North Carolina. The spring event ran April 15-29. There will be another in the fall.
According to NCDOT, 622,905 pounds of trash were picked up around the state.
For Earth Day in 2021, 39 groups filled 404 bags of litter weighing around 3.2 tons
County records show that 9.91 tons of garbage were collected in March.
So far this year, nearly 34 tons have been cleaned from local roads — roughly half of previous annual totals — with refuse weights exceeding 9.5 tons in three of the four months.
Bag numbers do not seem to be increasing, but weight appears to be doubling from previous averages.
Records show 63.65 tons of litter were picked up in 2022 — surpassing the previous year by more than three tons.
It should be noted that these totals do not include volunteer efforts by individuals, organizations and local businesses.
Students from the Beta Club and Environmental Club at Richmond Senior High School cleaned a section of Cartledge Creek Road in early March, with plans to plant flowers along the road.
American Woodmark participates in the Adopt-A-Highway program and routinely picks up trash along Freeman Mill Road, from Gin Mill Road to N.C. 38.
Other companies, including von Drehle and Vulcan Materials have also done roadside cleanup.
According to NCDOT, there are 26 active Adopt-A-Highway groups in the county.
Land told the RO in March that the county appreciates any help to keep the county clean.
“We’ll be glad to set them up, guide them, whatever we need to do to assign them a road, because there’s never enough help,” he said.
Anyone wanting to contribute is encouraged to contact Public Works Director Jerry Austin or Assistant Public Works Director Bryan Leggett.
The county’s annual Household Hazardous Waste Day, held last month in the parking lot of the Human Services Complex, was also a “success,” according to Land.
“We were almost able to fill a tractor-trailer with items that typically aren’t accepted at our box sites throughout the county,” Land told commissioners.
Those items include paint, household cleaners, batteries, fluorescent lights, and propane cylinders.
The collection is a joint effort between the Solid Waste Department, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the local N.C. Cooperative Extension office.
Seventy-four vehicles rolled through, dropping off 4.21 tons of materials. A record 11.28 tons of hazardous waste, mostly paint-related materials, were dropped off in 2022.