Shortly after 5 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 26, Al Eldridge finished the last of his bulk metal pick-up in Colonie.
Over the past five weeks, Eldridge and a fleet of county waste trucks visited each of the town's 12 fire districts picking up refrigerators, air conditioners, propane tanks and any metal object Colonie residents no longer had a use for. It marked the first time the area's largest municipality offered such a service.
Before the town and county waste entered into an agreement to extend metal pick-ups to town residents, many bulk metals simply sat in basements or in sheds. Over the years, residents would have to call upon friends or neighbors with trucks to get the metals to scrap dealers or designated drop offs. In some cases, what transpired was a number of illegal drops.
The numbers still have to be tallied for the largest of such feats county waste has ever pulled off, but if successful, bulk metal collection could become a yearly event in Colonie.
We were expecting around 60 tons of metal per fire district. They collected much more than that, said Joe Stockbridge director of environmental services for the town. "In the first two weeks, the low week saw 60 tons, in the highest week they collected 80 tons."
The word so far is that the bulk collection program was a hit with residents.
A number of calls came in to various town departments praising the program. The opportunity to do away with more than 800 tons of refrigerators and air conditioners past their prime was warmly welcomed, said Stockbridge.
Instead of carting them to the Port of Albany or Menands scrap dealers, as residents had to do in the past, residents had only to lug the antiquated appliances to the curb on Sundays. By Monday morning, the eyesores were out of sight and out of mind.