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While leaving my trash at the Knott Landfill yesterday I was exposed to what I believe was a misconception on what constitutes waste. What had recently been disposed of on the concrete floor of the landfill's dumpsite were many large boxes (some boxes appeared to be unopened) of brand new footwear. From the number and size of the boxes I would guesstimate 100 pairs of good footwear were included in this pile. I noticed colorful rubber boots, sandals, shoes and a tempting pair of hiking boots with what was probably a new pair of socks stuffed into one of the boots. I also noticed what appeared to be a perfectly good duffel bag as part of this pile of "trash."

My next stop was Goodwill and I wanted to load as much of this perfectly good (I repeat, NEW) footwear in my SUV and take it to Goodwill where the items would benefit those in need. I was told by a landfill employee and the fellow dumping his trash next to me that these items were considered waste once they "hit the floor" of the landfill building and could not be retrieved by anyone. The fellow next to me knew of this "policy" because he once witnessed 40 new spa covers being unloaded at this site. His own spa cover was damaged and he wanted to replace it with a new one. He was told that was not allowed.

I don't advocate the public being allowed to scavenge through trash for usable items, but this was a blatant display of someone's misconception of "trash" that went into the landfill when it could have easily benefited those in need.

I saw this as a county policy gone wrong and my disdain was initially toward the county for this policy. But prevention is the best step to eliminate a potential problem [so] I'm addressing the business(es) that would take such an action to unload unwanted inventory. I hope they are reading this opinion and, as a result, will look to a solution that would be twofold: (1) eliminate unnecessary dumping in the landfill and (2) provide for the consumer in need of basic essentials.

I doubt the effort to direct such "waste" to a community-serving organization, such as Goodwill, would have taken any more effort than dumping it at the landfill. Waste not, want not. Live sustainably.

- William Clendenning

Speaking of The Boot

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