Picking up what you’re throwing out

Within the boundaries of Bele Chere, there are approximately 210 trash barrels and 120 recycling bins. Still, without regular rounds by the City of Asheville’s sanitation crews, those containers would be piled beyond capacity.

Crew leader Booby Austin says teams of two crew members hit each container every 45 minutes on Friday, the slowest day of the festival, and bumped the schedule up to every 30 minutes on Saturday when crowds were the largest. They also scan the ground for litter on their routes. “If we see it on the ground, we go ahead and pick it up,” he says.

Still, at the end of the evening, after the festival day is over, crews circulate through the street with leaf blowers, piling litter along the curbs to be picked up by street sweepers. That process, Austin says, usually winds down around 1:30 a.m.