Don't miss out on cleaning out your files April 18
By STEPH TAHTINEN
Mt. Pleasant News
When doing this year’s spring cleaning, don’t forget to bring in all your paper to be recycled on Clean Up Your Files Day on Thursday, April 18.
“It’s a time where you can get rid of the files that have been backing up in your basement for months and years. It’s spring cleaning. It’s time to start over,” said Tim Ockenfels, vice president of City Carton Recycling in Mt. Pleasant.
Clean Out Your Files Day is a partnership between City Carton and Area Recyclers of Burlington. It will be taking place in two locations on Thursday — at City Carton in Mt. Pleasant and at the Burlington Amtrak Depot parking lot.
In addition to being able to get rid of all of the papers that have been building up in storage, there will be drawings and prizes given away throughout the day.
“It’s just a good day to get together, get the word out — recycle, recycle, recycle,” said Ockenfels. “Even today some people don’t know about it, and we’ve been doing it for 15 years. New people don’t know where to recycle or how to recycle. It’s a great way to put it into their mind.”
After 15 years, the longevity of this event is a little unusual.
“Most Clean Out Your Files Day events that have taken place, they do it two or three years and then people lose interest in it,” said Darven Kendell, education coordinator with the Des Moines County Regional Waste Commission. “For some reason, we’re 15 years into this and it’s stronger than ever.”
Kendell said that they often receive calls beginning in January asking when Clean Out Your Files Day will be taking place. It is held in April each year to loosely coincide with Earth Day and also tax season.
“We try to time it so it’s just after tax time, so it’s a great excuse to get rid of another year of tax returns,” said Kendall.
Confidential papers will be taken at each location on Thursday and will be shredded off site. At City Carton, confidential papers will be shredded through Document Destruction and Recycling Services out of Cedar Rapids, and in Burlington Hope Haven Development Center will be taking materials to be shredded.
There is a 100-pound limit for papers to be shredded, which is basically two banker boxes or two file drawers.
There is no limit to the amount of regular paper that can be recycled. Paper clips, staples, and address windows or clasps on envelopes can be left on the paper, as they do not cause an issue in the recycling process. However, binder clips or spirals on notebooks should be removed.
Over the 15 years that the event has been held, there has been anywhere from 20,000 to 90,000 pounds of paper collected on Clean Out Your Files Day.
“Inevitably, we always have a business or two that takes advantage of the event, which is what it is for — to clean out storage rooms,” said Kendell. “We’ve had as much as 4,000-5,000 pounds of paper from a single business on this day during the 15 years that we’ve had this.”
Every 125 pounds of paper — the equivalent of a four-foot stack of paper —saves a tree.
Although Clean Out Your Files Day is a special event, Kendell stressed that everyday can be Clean Out Your Files Day.
“Recycling can happen anytime. One of the overlying things that we like to preach is we can do it everyday. But this is the once-a-year type reminder, kind of a kick in your pants to do it,” said Kendell. “Recycling is an every day thing, too. It doesn’t have to be today, so once you come and see how easy it is to do here in Mt. Pleasant, maybe you’ll be back in another month — or less.”
City Carton Recycling is located at 301 N. Harvey Place, Mt. Pleasant. It allows recycling drop off 24 hours per day, seven days a week. They accept newspaper, office paper, shredded office paper, magazines, tin, aluminum, plastics one through seven and cardboard.