“Illegal dumping plagues our city,” said Jerrod Price, Downtown Neighborhood Association President Emeritus.
Any plague needs long-standing aid. That is why the City of Memphis has opened the center at Public Works Collins Yard — a new place for residents to properly get rid of trash and debris.
“The goal of this was to help provide our citizens an opportunity to get rid of unwanted solid waste without resorting to either having no option or illegally dumping it or having to go to a landfill,” Public Works Director Robert Knecht said.
Knecht said the convenience center also helps the city save money.
"Cost-wise — it's a benefit because it's very expensive to have to mobilize and go out and clean up illegal dumping," Knecht said. "I really think that if you look at what other cities do, convenience centers are not a new idea. They're new for us."
Price is also the former Commissioner of Memphis City Beautiful. He has participated in several neighborhood cleanups.
"The one common denominator that I found — shoulder-to-shoulder cleaning up with these community leaders — is that everybody wants our city to do better," Price said. "They want it to look better. They take pride in their neighborhoods. When you have illegal dumping, it lowers your property value. It makes neighborhoods look bad. It deters development, growth and prosperity.”
Toxic and hazardous materials are not welcome at the convenience center in Binghampton, but citizens can take them to the Shelby County Household Hazardous Waste Facility off Farms Road.
Sometimes, companies such as AutoZone will also take wastes such as motor oil and batteries.
"I think it’s vital that our citizens know the resources that our city, that our county has to help curb illegal dumping," Price said.
“With this opportunity, not that it's the fix-all, but at least we're given options," Knecht said. "You know, we still got to deal with the some of the commercial work that happens is an influence there, but we're doing that with our cameras and other techniques that we're trying to capture people illegal dumping."
The Public Works Department said it is their goal to open a total of four convenience centers across the city. The Collins Yard location will be open every Friday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. so long as weather permits.