MANKATO — Even after years of working Mankato’s annual Spring Cleanup, Art Gomez still gets to see something new now and then while residents are hauling all kinds of junk to the city’s Mass Transit Building on Lamm Street.
Saturday morning’s surprise for the Waste Management employee was watching two guys with baby strollers full of scrap metal walk and roll through the gates. He described how the metal was stacked high on each stroller.
“I’ve never seen that before,” Gomez said.
Most people arrive in vans, SUVs or pickup trucks. Sometimes they have a few things, sometimes their cargo areas and truck beds are heaped full. One man pulled a huge construction trailer into the lot Saturday, backed up to the growing pile of rubbish and used the trailer’s hydraulic lift to dump hundreds of pounds of this and that.
The Spring Cleanup, which takes place from 7 a.m. to noon every Saturday in May, gives Mankato residents a one-stop place to bring most of the stuff they want out of their houses and garages. The only things not accepted are concrete, asphalt, tires, appliances, recyclables and hazardous waste.
A new addition this year was a place to drop off unused drugs. The Mankato Department of Public Safety and Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Department already have drop boxes at the dowtown Public Safety Center and the Justice Center on the east edge of town. Joe Fitzpatrick, a part-time Mankato police officer, said having the drop boxes at the Spring Cleanup gives residents another option at a time when they’re getting their cleaning done. It’s better than throwing the drugs in the garbage, where they can be found by children, or flushing them down the toilet, where they can pollute drinking water.