Five tons of junk was picked up by trash collectors last week after downtown Charleston college students emptied their apartments for the year.
Goodwill Industries also picked up about 100 reusable items, filling half the space inside a cargo trailer, said Dan Riccio, director of livability for the city of Charleston.
Given the scope of the haul so far (the week isn't over), some residents who live near the College of Charleston say the school and local landlords should contribute more to the effort, contending that their student-tenants are responsible for the annual dumping of furniture, old TVs and garbage.
“At some point, enough is enough,” Harleston Village resident Eben Smith said about the costs associated with living in the city. “I'm sure most of my neighbors would agree that we are pretty tired of paying for the excesses of these kids. Let those responsible pay and take the burden off the residents.”
Smith's comments were echoed by Tony Hendey, another Harleston resident.
“Any process that can be used to control the C of C impact on the residents of the town, and to reinforce to the college that they are the responsible body for their students, is a worthwhile cause,” he said.
This year, the city's and the college's cooperative “Operation Moveout” included more focus on educating tenants how to safely place items on sidewalks for pickup so that routes aren't blocked, and on ways to donate items and recycle.
While Riccio did not have a breakdown of the city's costs behind the cleanup, the college's Office of Community Relations donated $2,000 toward the effort, as it has for years.
The money helped fund three additional street crews, a collection truck, a “claw” pickup machine, and a mini-sized garbage packer, Riccio said.
In response, the College of Charleston issued a statement saying officials there were always willing to meet with neighborhood associations and the city to work on making the cleanup easier.
Since 2007 the college has contributed $14,000 to summer cleanup efforts for residential areas in Charleston, the statement said, adding that the college has been assured by city officials that its annual payment of $2,000 is more than sufficient to support the cleanup.
Charleston's college trash-dumping situation might be unique in the state, given its central city set-up and narrow streets and sidewalks. A ranking official from Columbia's solid waste office said collections there doesn't match Charleston's in terms of controversy, given the spread-out nature of the landscape and because so many students live on the University of South Carolina campus.
Solid Waste Superintendent John Hooks also said he knew of no specific program where the university donates to the student move-out trash removal.
The 5-ton collection figure covers Wednesday through Saturday, Riccio said. The effort will continue for the next couple days.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.
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