Fairbanks Clean Up Day to happen from May 2nd to May 9th

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) Clean Up Day in Fairbanks has been extended into a weeklong event.

Yellow Clean Up Day garbage bags are available for pickup at Green Star of Interior Alaska. (Alex Bengel/KTVF)

The event sees Fairbanks residents finding a spot in town and picking up any trash and debris they can find, leaving filled bags on the side of the road.

This year, instead of happening for one day, the event will begin May 2nd and continue until May 9th, at which time the bags of trash that are left on the side of the road will be picked up by Cowles Heating Services and hauled to the Fairbanks Solid Waste Facility (FSWF).

Tait Chandler, Executive Director of Green Star of Interior Alaska, explained the purpose of the extension. “This year, due to COVID-19, we’re really trying to space people out -- so we’ve selected an entire week to run the event.”

Special yellow bags for trash collection are available for pickup at Green Star.

Many kinds of refuse can be found around town after the spring thaw. “We get a lot of diapers,” Chandler said.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has affected Clean Up Day in other ways. Meetings of the Clean Up Committee have had to happen virtually. This year Green Star has also used recommendations from the medical community when planning the event.

Because of the closure of the Central Recycling Facility, Green Star will not be separating recycling from trash this year. Instead, all bags will go directly to the landfill.

In the past, large groups like sports teams and work cohorts have volunteered as combined efforts. This year it is recommended that participants volunteer in smaller family groups and otherwise maintain a distance of six feet from each other while picking up trash.

Any cleanup that happens after the pickup date of May 9th must be taken by participants themselves to the FSWF in order for it to be counted.

Chandler emphasized the need for personal protection at this time. “It’s going to be really important this year to wear gloves,” he said, adding that when in close proximity to others, face masks should be worn.

“I know that a lot of folks have been feeling cooped up due to the quarantine, and we want to present Clean Up Day as an opportunity for you to get outside, still be safe with your family, but do something good, get some exercise, make this town look more beautiful,” Chandler said.

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