FARGO - Cleanup Week, the Fargo-Moorhead area's annual orgy of tossing unwanted items on the curb for strangers to claim and garbage collectors to haul, is nigh upon us - running May 7-11.
The 2017 toss-a-thon accounted for 1,800 tons of waste in Fargo's landfill, according to Terry Ludlum, Fargo's solid waste utility director.
"The city's cost to do cleanup is slightly over $100,000 a year. It sounds a bit expensive, but if we break it down, we have 25,000 single-family households. It costs each household about $4 a year," Ludlum said Thursday, April 26. "We think it's a fantastic value for the city of Fargo."
Moorhead, Dilworth, West Fargo and Clay County also take part in Cleanup Week.
For Cleanup Week guidelines, go online to cleanupweek.com. In the meantime, here's how to keep useful items in circulation.
Keep 'em separated
Ludlum says Fargo keeps 40 percent of what is collected out of the landfill, though it's easier if people separate items - appliances, tires, brush - so crews picking up each type of item can work quickly.
Large appliances and grills are sent to scrap metal yards; tires are ground up by a firm for use at a waste-to-energy plant; brush and tree debris is ground up, with some going to an ethanol plant and the rest to residents and the Park District for landscaping or dust control at the landfill, Ludlum said.
For people with old TVs and computers, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 5, the Solid Waste Center, 2301 8th Ave. N., will take them, and staff will unload your vehicle, Ludlum said.
Throughout the year, the Household Hazardous Waste facility at 606 43½ St. N. takes paints, thinners, stains, varnishes, drain and oven cleaners, poisons, automotive fluids, weed and insect killer, fluorescent light bulbs and ballasts, and one computer and TV per resident per month.
To dispose of building material, Ludlum says homeowners can take it to the landfill, or rent a dumpster from the city. Homeowners will be billed for large piles of construction waste if the city must pick it up during Cleanup Week.
If furniture or mattresses are too worn to donate, residents can take them to the landfill without charge during Cleanup Week.
Give it new life
The Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch stores in Fargo, Dilworth and West Fargo, The Arc Attic Treasures stores, and New Life Thrift Store take many items with life left in them.
For example, Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch accepts clean clothing in good shape, jewelry, CDs, DVDs, books and miscellaneous household items, plus furniture, grills, bikes, lawnmowers, snowblowers, toasters and microwave ovens in saleable condition.
Lisa Olson, vice president of retail operations for DBGR, said donations are accepted at the stores daily. Free, in-town pickups can also be scheduled. "Schedule early, it's a busy week for us, too," she said.
New Life Center supporters can drop off items at the Life 97.9 Stuff the Truck event 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 5, at Luther Family Ford in south Fargo.
The event, also sponsored by the FM Association of Realtors, will accept items like sporting goods, clothing, books, toys, decorating items, jewelry, crafts and games. Team Boaz, which includes members of several local churches, will collect gently used bicycles to be refurbished and given to new Americans.
The Salvation Army will hold its Coats for Kids and Families spring collection May 4-14 at all Hornbacher's grocery stores in Fargo-Moorhead. New or gently used winter gear is requested.
Be a HERO
Reusable health care items such as wheelchairs, scooters and other health care supplies are accepted by Healthcare Equipment Recycling Organization, or HERO.
HERO has saved over 191,000 pounds of health care equipment from landfills.
"A lot of people have things left over from surgery, canes, crutches, wheelchairs. If it's medical or health related, we'll pass it on," Development Officer Brent Brandt said.
The HERO office at 5012 53rd St. S. in Fargo takes donations 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information and a list of other drop-off sites, visit herofargo.com.
Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity's ReStore at 210 11th St. N. in Moorhead accepts appliances, furniture, kitchen cabinets, plumbing and light fixtures, toilets, tubs, sinks, washers, dryers, clean lumber (at least 4 feet long), tools and hardware.
"Basically, it helps us with our mission for building homes in the community," said Pete Christopher, the group's resource development and marketing manager.
Habitat will build three entry-level homes in the Fargo-Moorhead area this year, he said.
Avoid sour notes
Old pianos and organs find few takers on the curb - or elsewhere.
Rick Lindquist, keyboard manager at Schmitt Music in Fargo, said unless one of those instruments is less than 20 years old, "we won't even look at it. The world has changed. About 90 percent of what we sell today are digital pianos."
Schmitt will take in some other instruments on trade, Lindquist said.
Eric Billings, a sales associate at Eckroth Music in Fargo, suggests people sell or give away pianos or organs on Craigslist or through social media. "Sometimes, places like churches take them," he said.
It's hard finding homes for older instruments. Repair costs can top buying new, he said.
Band and orchestra instruments have a better secondary market, Billings said, with a new crop of musicians starting every year.
Band and orchestra teachers may also accept donated instruments in good shape for kids that can't afford their own instruments, Billings said.
Where to donate
Here are some of the places in the Fargo-Moorhead area that help keep new or gently used items out of landfills while supporting good causes:
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Thrift Stores
(Supports Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch residential treatment and on-campus Dakota Memorial Schools)
1001 4th Ave. N., Fargo. (701) 280-2371
1601 32nd Ave. S. Fargo. (701) 297-4166
619 13th Ave. E., West Fargo. (701) 356-5152
1500 Center Ave. W./U.S. Highway 10, Dilworth, Minn. (218) 233-1266
Donation pick-ups: (701) 277-9424
The Arc Attic Treasures
(The Arc Cass County provides advocacy and educational programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.)
255 N. University Drive, Fargo. (701) 232-6641
3201 43rd St. S., Fargo. (701) 364-9762
New Life Thrift Store
(supports New Life Center, a shelter for homeless men)
221 19th St. N., Fargo. (701) 235-4453
Heirlooms Thrift and Gift
(supports Hospice of the Red River Valley)
3120 25th St. S., Fargo. (701) 356-2670
(accepts building supplies and supports Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity)
210 11th St. N., Moorhead. (218) 284-5253
HERO (Healthcare Equipment Recycling Organization)
(redistributes donated health care supplies to those in need)
5012 53rd St. S., Fargo. (701) 212-1921
Coats for Kids
A Salvation Army event. Drop off new or gently used coats and other winter gear at area Hornbacher's grocery stores May 4-14.