Day after Christmas a trashy one at rural convenience centers

Dec. 27, 2012 @ 10:08 PM

Dec. 26 is a lively day at shopping malls and on the nation's highways.

It also is a hectic day at Sevier County's 10 convenience centers, where residents can drop off their household waste.

"This is our busiest day of the year," said Jeff Sutton, who on a rainy Wednesday afternoon was working at the Birds Creek Road convenience center. He wore a safety vest, sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.

Dumpsters sat in a fenced enclosure. A garbage truck emptied the bins. In cars, pickup trucks and SUVs, people waited to throw away their trash. A sign read, "No Christmas trees."

The center was very busy when Sutton opened Wednesday morning. By afternoon, there were fewer people.

"We probably would have had some more, but the rain kept a lot of people away," he said.

Even so, Sutton said, he was busier Wednesday than he was on Dec. 26, 2011.

In front of the Newport Highway convenience center, a line of cars and trucks stretched almost to the busy road. At Dumpsters, people emptied trash from two vehicles at a time.

Summer Lenz of New Center threw away bags full of wrapping paper and other Christmas debris. Her household generates a lot of trash. "I have three kids," she said.

Calvin Webb was working at the center.

"It's pretty good," he said of traffic at the site. "But the day after Christmas is usually busier than this. The rain and the wind slowed ’em down, for sure."

Other than a truck that needed a repair, Wednesday was proceeding smoothly, Webb said. As he spoke, a truck emptied  the green containers. "Trucks are getting in and out of here just as fast as they can," he said. "But it's been pretty calm."

Nicole Daigle of Sevierville removed trash from the back of a Chevy SUV.

"I've got toy boxes and everything like that, wrapping paper," she said. There is trash service at Daigle's house, she noted. "But we only have one can, and it fills up."

Daigle visits the Newport Highway convenience center often, but she had never seen the center so busy. "This is a first for me."

In a Toyota pickup truck, a man who gave his name as David said he visits the center once a week. He also was not used to so much activity. "Normally," he said, "you're in and out and gone."

kburns@themountainpress.com