What started off for thousands of Cobb County residents Saturday as a great opportunity to be environmentally responsible instead turned into group frustration and anger directed at county officials.
The county's household hazardous waste recycling event at Jim Miller Park created long lines and traffic jams along county roads near the park. Hundreds were sent back home with recyclable items left in their cars when county officials started turning cars away approximately one hour before the scheduled event end time. Many others, tired of waiting in car lines that turned into two-hour-or-more waiting queues, simply turned around on the roadways, with horns honking and lights flashing to demonstrate their frustration.
The reaction was instant and angry on social media, too. Typical comments at the Cobb County Facebook page included:
"Absolutely insane, very poor planning, we waited in line over 90 minutes to be told if we arent in the gate by noon, we wont be served, ridiculous Cobb County Government."
"We spent all morning gathering up our stuff. Husband was in line by 10:15. Waited and waited, was almost up to the gate when it closed. So we wasted half the day and now have a car full of stuff we don't know what to do with."
"Wasted 1.5 hours in line to be turned away because it was after 12 by the time we got to the front. It would have been wonderful if the police could have driven by with a Bull horn to let us know they were cutting off at noon regardless of what time you got in line. It would have saved us valuable time. The most mismanaged unorganized event I have ever seen."
"The line is ridiculous! I've been waiting for over half an hour coming off Powder Springs Road. I will likely give up."
A few early birds enjoyed a better experience, though, according to their social media posts:
"I arrived at 7 am got in and out."
"Excellent event. We arrived a hour early to get in line. When the event started the line moved quickly. We didn't have to unload the truck. There were plenty of people working the event."
Heavily promoted by Cobb County in the news media and on social media, the event was advertised as an annual opportunity to help "Keep Cobb Beautiful" and to "prevent harmful waste from entering our environment and water systems," according to county websites.
After the event was over, a post on the Keep Cobb Beautiful Facebook page offered this comment:
"We strive to offer recycling opportunities to as many as possible. We sincerely appreciate your patience and we apologize for the wait times. Let's work together to improve this process. If you would like to see more events like this with less wait or convenient drop off locations please email your District Commissioner with your suggestions and requests."