Mazama, we have a problem. Our little hamlet was an overwhelmingly popular destination this COVID-rattled summer of 2020. The visitors were welcome for their support of the businesses that have thus far survived what earlier looked to be a bleak economic forecast. In fact, by all accounts, local businesses had a record year for sales. That’s not the problem. The problem is the voluminous amount of trash created by all these visitors.
Unfortunately, many visitors didn’t pack it in and pack it out. Instead, full garbage bags were left at campsites, every available can for small trash stuffed to the gills, and car trash tossed out to the roadside barrow pits. Green doggie bags and toilet paper flowers littered the trail sides.
Dealing with true landfill trash, recyclables, and compostables takes some commitment and care when you live here in the Methow — even more so for visitors who may not know, or care to know, what the flow is for all the human byproducts. Of course, at the base of the cycle is the simple idea to reduce and reuse, which results in less trash, followed by recycling those things that can be recycled. It’s not always easy to do when you are traveling, but not impossible. Educating visitors to include a trip to the recycle center and transfer station before leaving town would, if put into practice, be a tremendous help to stemming the heaps of garbage in our community.
A group of local business people, nonprofits and federal agencies met to discuss the problem and develop a possible solution. The group is hoping to spearhead a pilot program to provide a dumpster at the Corral Parking Lot in Mazama with regular pickups by WasteWise Methow. The dumpster would cost approximately $1,500 for the time period from late May-October 2021.
A marvelous idea; however, having lived in several high-rise apartments in Seattle, I was always appalled at the abuse of the dumpsters provided for residents. Furniture, mattresses, cardboard and other indescribable rubbish overflowed the bins regularly. So, the challenge is how to prevent this in Mazama.
The pilot program group is well aware of the possibility of abuse and has addressed this issue. First, the dumpster will be bear-proof, which will not allow for large items to be put inside. And, signage will detail the rules of the program:
• This dumpster is here as part of a Pilot Program paid for by local businesses and individuals.
• Visitors, if you are able please take your waste home with you or to the Twisp Transfer Station.
• This dumpster is not for the use of local residents or homeowners.
• Please do not leave any waste outside of this dumpster. If the dumpster is full, take your garbage to the Twisp Transfer Station or some other appropriate location for disposal.
• This dumpster is under surveillance and violators of these rules will be pursued.
• If this dumpster is abused, the program will be terminated, and all visitors will be left without a local alternative for disposing of their waste.
• If you appreciate this service, please contribute by scanning this QR Code and making a donation.
If the program is successful, it will be considered to construct a shelter and provide it year-round. At this stage, please share your thoughts or contribute towards this program by contacting CB Thomas (Goat’s Beard Mountain Supplies) at email@example.com or (970) 409-8184.