Sterling Heights residents drop off materials at the Department of Public Works building during one of the DPW’s past spring cleaning days.

Sterling Heights residents drop off materials at the Department of Public Works building during one of the DPW’s past spring cleaning days.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes


DPW to host spring cleaning drop-off days

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published April 7, 2021

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STERLING HEIGHTS — If your closets and storage spaces have been clogging up after a year of staying at home due to the coronavirus, the Sterling Heights Department of Public Works has an event for you.

The DPW is inviting the public to properly dispose of spring cleaning junk by bringing the materials to its headquarters on select Saturdays in April and May.

Erik Skurda, the DPW’s operations manager, said all of last year’s scheduled spring cleaning days were canceled due to the severity and shutdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic. The city also rejected an idea to delay the events to another time that year.

“We wanted to hold the event in the fall, but we found in years past that the public participation is very low then,” he said. “We also had construction at the (DPW) facility. Logistically, it didn’t work out with all the CDC guidelines at the time, the amount of interaction. We decided that 2020 was not the year to try to squeeze a square peg into a round hole.”

But this year, Skurda said, the DPW is more comfortable, protocols are in place, everyone can stretch out and relax a bit, “vaccinations are happening, and people feel safer.” In addition, the cleanup events’ suppliers and contractors are on board, he said.

When the days begin this April, Skurda said his department is “expecting a pretty substantial turnout.”

The following is the schedule for the spring cleaning events, which are available for Sterling Heights residents only — ID will be checked. All events will be 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the DPW building, 7200 18 Mile Road in Sterling Heights.

April 10 is Shred Day, in which residents are able to watch their paper materials and sensitive documents be destroyed. The maximum amount of papers for shredding per person is three boxes that are each 15 by 12 by 10 inches, officials said.

“We find that that’s a good kickoff event to go to,” Skurda said, adding that an average of 700-900 vehicles typically go through the line.

April 17 will be the Household Hazardous Waste Day. Skurda said this is a good event for people who are cleaning out basements or who have old chemicals or paint lying around. According to the city’s website, other acceptable hazardous items include pesticides, oil and antifreeze. Unacceptable items include auto parts, construction material, appliances and radioactive material.

April 24 is Electronics Recycling Day. During this event, according to officials, residents may generally dispose of gadgets or appliances with electric cords.

“I feel like the days of the old tube TVs are past us, but you’d be surprised,” Skurda said. “People still have those, and they don’t know what to do with them. … Great Lakes Electronics does the recycling. They get the materials all separated so we keep a lot of those materials out of the landfill.”

The last two Spring Cleanup event days are May 8 and 15. Those are for getting rid of miscellaneous junk that generally isn’t electronic, Skurda said. However, those events will reject explosives or hazardous waste.

“Those are for anything else that you’re not entirely sure of what to do at your house,” he explained. “It’s not easy to cut off the deck in your backyard and throw it into your regular refuse. Our refuse collector won’t pick up tires, bricks, blocks, concrete. … (The event) gives the residents an opportunity to kind of get rid of those items.”

Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor said he has a bunch of stuff in his garage that he plans to take down to the cleanup events soon. He added that he gets questions throughout the year about when certain cleanup days are, and “it’s always something I know our residents look forward to.”

“It’s good for the environment, too, and you can never be too careful nowadays to make sure you’re protecting the environment,” Taylor added.

For a more comprehensive list of which items are and aren’t allowed on the DPW Spring Cleanup days, visit bit.ly/3lxNerL or call (586) 446-2440.

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