Johnson City Press: People can't wait to throw away last remnant of Christmas
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People can't wait to throw away last remnant of Christmas

John Thompson • Dec 26, 2018 at 10:31 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Prettily wrapped Christmas presents mean so much to us that there are even songs written about their beauty. But they don’t stay pretty for long.

The day after Christmas, these bashed boxes, ripped wrapping paper and broken ribbons and bows are an unsightly mess that people just want to get gone.

That is the reason for the final Christmas rush of the season. On the day after Christmas, a long line of fully loaded pickup trucks was waiting at the gate to the Carter County Landfill.

They were loaded with the remains of once-cherished packages bedecked in greens and reds. But there was no Christmas gaiety, just the remains of what had been Christmas 2018, and now destined to become a permanent addition to a landfill, forgotten and unmourned.

“They were lined up when we started at 7 this morning and it has not stopped,” said landfill clerk Connie Ford.

Ford worked the window at the truck scales from the start of the business day until noon, collecting the fees set by the weight of the household trash. It was a weight that normally would have been a full day’s worth of business.

“We had 58.5 tons from 7 to 12,” Ford said.

It was obvious people wanted to be rid of their Christmas detritus as quickly as possible, as if there was something toxic forming inside a package that had been opened for more than a few hours.

That was the reason the landfill employees were working a normal day on the day after Christmas, when just about every other county employee had a final day off. Landfill Manager Benny Lyons said the county’s schedule of closed offices on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas just would not work for the landfill.

He knew people could not wait a full two days to dispose of the remains of their Christmas packages.

The landfill sits at the end of a road. A long gate informs the public when the landfill is closed. Lyons has seen what happens when the public has to wait two days after Christmas to get rid of their discarded boxes and wrapping. What happens is people began just lining the refuse against the fence. Then more stack their refuse behind the first comers. By the time the landfill employees show up for work the next morning, the garbage is stacked all the way down the road. That is the reason landfill employees joined the Carter County Sheriff’s Department as the few county employees who worked on Dec. 26.

But it wasn’t just the transfer station at Minton Hollow that did a big business on Wednesday. The county’s recycling stations did very well. Even the transfer station in far away Little Milligan, not far from the North Carolina border, had a busy morning. Ford said the station operator called in to say that $160 had been collected.

“That’s a lot for Little Milligan,” Ford said.

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