Many volunteer to green up Charlotte for 54th time

Trash talk on a basketball court is way different than trash talk on Green Up Day.

On May 4, Charlotte celebrated Vermont’s 54th Green Up Day, and all the trash talk in the Charlotte Central School parking lot involved a lot of smiling and cooperation. Heated competition was at a minimum.

Some years ago, this reporter interviewed a young girl in Hinesburg who affirmed that Green Up Day was her favorite holiday.

Everyone on this Saturday seemed intoxicated by the observance, saturated with the thrill of community-driven initiatives promoting environmental sustainability and cleaning up the town’s roads.

The state’s first official Green Up Day was held in 1970. Kim Findlay, one of the co-chairs of the town’s annual participation in the de-littering holiday, said she could remember picking up trash on the second Green Up Day when she was a student at Charlotte Central School.

She and Ken Spencer have been co-chairing for six or seven years. They simultaneously offered to chair the greening up several years ago. Rather than flipping a coin or doing rock-paper-scissors, they decided it would be more fun to do it together.

As in years past, Sustainable Charlotte held its annual electronics recycling collection at the school in conjunction with the effort to clean town roads, where just across the parking lot a steady stream of volunteers were delivering green bags full of the litter they had picked up.

Good Point Recycling supplied a truck for unwanted electronics to be hauled back to its recycling center in Middlebury. It doesn’t cost Charlotte anything. The company makes its money off the devices it repairs and resells.

“They are just an amazing business. They try to make sure that almost nothing goes into the landfill,” said Ruah Swennerfelt who was working a two-hour shift with husband Louis Cox.

Cox said over the years he has gotten a turntable and a complete sound system from recycling.

“We’ve got a really good recycled sound system,” Swennerfelt said.

And they listen to music from records on a turntable. For Cox, records have never gone out of style.

The couple have been helping to reclaim electronics on Green Up Day for at least 10 years.

Vermont has the highest recycling of appliances per capita of any state in the country, according to the Good Point Recycling website.

Spencer was sitting on the pavement at the trash pickup table, marking in red town roads that had been claimed by trash pickeruppers. Almost all of Charlotte’s byways, major and minor, were marked.

“Except for a few spots on Route 7 and Spear Street, just about every road was cleaned up,” Findlay said after Saturday.