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Vehicles lined up Saturday morning, Oct. 5, to dispose of household hazardous waste during DeSoto County's annual event held at the Landers Center in Southaven.

Homes, garages, and backyard sheds are a lot cleaner in DeSoto County once again, after county government hosted another Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day on Oct. 5.

County residents were given the opportunity to come to the Landers Center parking lot in Southaven with items that can’t normally be tossed into the weekly garbage collection. Those items were then taken, sorted, and properly recycled or disposed of.

DeSoto County Environmental Services Director Ray Laughter gave a report on the Oct. 5 collection effort during the Board of Supervisors meeting on Oct. 8 in Hernando.

“The citizens of DeSoto County displayed why DeSoto County and all of its municipalities are looked at as an environmental flagship for the state of Mississippi,” Laughter told supervisors. “Five hundred 75 vehicles showed up in a four-hour period to properly dispose of and recycle chemicals, tires, and electronics. This was the biggest turnout on record for a four-hour period.”

Laughter gave a lot of credit to the volunteers who came out to handle all of the material that was presented. The help included volunteers from Northwest Mississippi Community College, workers from county municipalities, and county road department employees, along with staff from Laughter’s department, the supervisors themselves, and others.

“The volunteers never slacked up,” Laughter said. “They continued working and serving the citizens with a great attitude. It’s a true testament to the quality and dedication of the representatives of this county and all of its municipalities.”

Of the vehicles that came through that morning with material, 181 of them came from the two Southaven ZIP Codes, 38671 and 38672. A total of 139 vehicles came from the Olive Branch 38654 ZIP Code and 121 were from the Hernando 38632 ZIP Code.

Forty-nine came from Nesbit, 45 from Horn Lake, and 20 were from Walls.

The information came when the cars came to the Landers Center parking lot, where they were asked to fill out a sheet describing what they were bringing and their address.

The 575 vehicles were 50 more than the previous four-hour record of 525 that came last year, Laughter said. Only 330 came in 2017 and 300 were recorded in 2016. A total of 351 vehicles were attracted for the collection day in 2015, the first year for a four-hour event. In 2014, the last year of a six-hour activity, a total of 609 vehicles were involved in the collection.

Residents could bring waste tires to be disposed of on Saturday, along with the other materials, although there was a limit of five per vehicle. Laughter said 270 tires were brought to Landers Center on Oct. 5 for disposal.

The Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day was the 13th held in DeSoto County and the majority of the cost for it is covered through a grant from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, which also had people there to help in the event. Counties apply for the funding through the competitive grant program, which is not guaranteed. However, DeSoto County’s success has allowed it to continue offering the free event to its residents.

“We saw first-hand environmental heroes in action,” said Laughter. “We look forward to working together on future community service events.”

Bob Bakken is Managing Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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