Spring cleaning is more than just cleaning out closets and the garage. It symbolizes a fresh start, with less baggage, both tangible and spiritual.

One way to make this annual ritual especially uplifting is to make a conscious effort to recycle everything that can be reused and to properly dispose of those items that cannot.

To that end, a number of entities in the Park City area are offering special collection days for oversized and/or hazardous waste.

In past years, both Summit County and Park City have placed Dumpsters at strategic collection points and have allowed residents to fill them at will. The result, too often, was unsightly, overflowing piles of random waste, much of which could have been separated into recyclable materials.

The unsupervised, easily available Dumpsters encouraged irresponsibility. Bedsprings and yard waste were mixed indiscriminately with old computers and outgrown plastic toys. Unfortunately, some people also used the free Dumpsters to get rid of more toxic items like paint, pesticides and expired medicines.

This year, with help from Recycle Utah, the city and county are taking a different approach. Free Dumpsters will be available, but they will be staffed by knowledgeable people who will screen the materials before they are tossed out. The Dumpsters will be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the last Friday and Saturday of each month from this weekend through October at the recycling center on Woodbine Way in Park City.

As for those nasty leftovers from spraying for earwigs or stripping paint from the motorcycle, there will be a free household hazardous waste collection day at Canyons Resort in the Cabriolet parking lot on Saturday, May 4, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. So gather up all of those half-empty cans of herbicides, pesticides and solvents.

At the same event, there will be an opportunity to safely dispose of unused prescription drugs. It is a great way to keep them from landing in the wrong hands or from being flushed down the drain and finding their way into the water supply.

Most of the residents in Summit County have the best intentions when it comes to environmental stewardship, but sometimes convenience trumps making a better choice about throwing things away. The good news is that these opportunities to do the right thing are making it harder to find excuses for slacking.