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“Wind was stronger than anything:” Crews spend hours cleaning up trash blown from landfill

MENOMONEE FALLS -- High wind on Wednesday, March 8th felled trees and caused damage throughout southeastern Wisconsin. In Menomonee Falls, trash was blown into the trees and grounds that surround the Orchard Ridge Landfill.

“We do what we can to minimize material that can blow off site by putting up extra fences, moving our operations, and we did all that," said Waste Management's Lynn Morgan.

Trash from Menomonee Falls area landfill

But wind gusts on Wednesday were between 50 and 70 miles per hour, the force of a tropical storm.

“This wind was stronger than anything, and it blew our fences right over," said Morgan.

Trash from Menomonee Falls area landfill

As cleanup crews worked through the day, on Thursday Morgan said this was only the second high-wind event of this magnitude she remembers in her 25-year career.

“We’ve immediately deployed crews, focusing first on the material that may have drifted off of our property," said Morgan.

Morgan emphasized that most of the trash was still on the landfill's property, but there’s one reason why the whole situation was especially unfortunate.

“All of those plastic bags could have been recycled," Morgan said.

Trash from Menomonee Falls area landfill

And then the bags never would have ended up in the landfill in the first place. Plastic bags cannot be mixed in with the rest of your recycling, but are still easy to dispose of.

“There are more than 130 recycling drop-off spots in Milwaukee -- at stores like Pick 'n Save, Walmart, Kohl's," said Morgan.

And then next time, they won’t be taken wherever the wind blows.

Trash from Menomonee Falls area landfill