Submitted by Nikyta Palmisani
Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District is committed to community health and well-being; thus, in response to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), LSWDD made the decision last Friday, March 6, 2020, to close the Take It or Leave It until further notice. This was done to proactively prevent the possible spread of Covid-19, following our county health department’s recommendation to practice social distancing.
The TIOLI is a gathering space for our community and it takes in 500-800 pounds of donations per hour when open. With these volumes, it is impossible to sanitize objects and shopping surfaces within the TIOLI. Therefore, to protect volunteers who manage these volumes (many of whom are in the high risk age group), and the many visitors who exchange goods, LSWDD found it important for public health to close for the foreseeable future. During the closure, the TIOLI will be deep cleaned, organized and updated by our dedicated volunteers and staff. Please note that our garbage and recycling services will remain open.
The TIOLI is not only a beloved institution, but also a site of HUGE diversion of items that might have otherwise gone to landfill. We easily receive 6,000 pounds of donations per weekend! So how are Lopezians to manage donations that would have been dropped off every weekend? Here are some helpful suggestions:
1. Practice Patience. If these donations have lived in your home, they can most likely live a little longer with you. Please hold onto donations until the TIOLI reopens. Also, we appreciate that no donations are left at the gate while TIOLI is unattended.
2. Utilize the Buy Nothing Lopez Island Facebook Group and Lopez Rocks to offer donations to the community. These are good ways to offer and receive goods in a 1:1 exchange, where items can be sanitized before and after being exchanged.
3. Let’s not overload the Lopez Thrift Shop with our TIOLI donations. On their website they state: “The DONATION ZONE will be open as scheduled, but please do not leave any items at the Thrift Shop Donation Zone that you planned to drop off at the Take It Or Leave It (TIOLI), which is currently closed. All items left in the Donation Zone must be eligible and desirable for resale. As always, all donations should be clean and in good condition. No furniture or electronics.”
4. Stuffed Furniture is a category of fee items that includes mattresses, couches and stuffed chairs. The fee helps cover their disposal if they are not adopted in a timely manner from TIOLI. If you have one of these items that most likely wouldn’t be adopted because it is in poor condition, please just pay to have it thrown out.
5. Make use of our recycle streams – for those items that might not be right for reuse. Examples include: outdated books, magazines and paper products that can be recycled into our mixed paper container. Metal recycling is an outlet for questionable use objects that are 50 percent steel or more, or made of aluminum, copper, brass or mixed metals. There are labeled bins for each metal next to the green baler shed in the recycle plaza. Just ask one of our staff members for help – as we have many recycling options!
6. Please bring your own reusable bags to the grocery store. SWAP has made the decision to remove the reusable bag bin from in front of Blossom Grocery for the same reasons as the TIOLI closure. This gives us all the opportunity to continue the best practice of remembering and bringing our own reusable bags every time we shop.
We are a resilient community dedicated to zero waste and free community reuse. The TIOLI will be back in action as soon as we can – and we look forward to it! LSWDD thanks you for your continued support, patience, and consideration during this time.