Derby fans took home many memories. But they left behind a lot of garbage.
Mountains of garbage bags tumbled down chutes at the racetrack Saturday, sending trash from the highest balconies and grand stands down to countless dumpsters. That garbage included recyclable materials – glass, plastic, and paper. It piled up in the grandstand, overflowed from garbage cans in the paddock, littered the way out of Churchill Downs and into the parking lots.
Mayor Jerry Abramson, Anheuser-Busch, and ARCO aluminum announced before the race that they would join forces to reinvigorate the recycling program at Churchill Downs. But recycling bins were placed only in the infield and a satellite parking lot. The joint announcement quotes the mayor as saying he hopes the program will showcase Louisville as a community that recycles. But the effort seemed next to invisible to fans anywhere but the infield.
Three local schools were scheduled to help collect recyclables after Derby. They’ve got their work cut out for them: last year, Derby fans left behind about 174 tons of trash, enough to fill four and a half semi-trailers.