I recently noticed that there was a lot of commentary about trash on the side of the road. Litter has been increasing on the side of the road for quite a while now. On the weekends, I make a point to pick up trash along my street. I’m not willing to adopt a street for the simple fact that the area I cover is already 3/4 of a mile, and I do it almost every week. If I were to agree to clean up the street every week for 2 miles, I would adopt the highway or road, but I don’t want to be responsible for that much garbage. It doesn’t help that every time I pick up trash, I get the equivalent of a 22-pound bag of cat food worth of waste. We’re talking tons of beer bottles, cartons of food, aluminum cans, candy and chip wrappers, and fast-food drink cups.
I get the fact that a lot of people think if no one’s looking just throw your trash out the window. There was a time I get the fact that many people think if no one’s looking, throw your trash out the window. There was a time in my life I was one of those people. I’ve educated myself on the effects that discarding trash on the road can generate for the environment. The more I’ve had to pick up, the more I began to get disgusted with the actions of people who so carelessly throw their garbage outside.
Some companies are organizing community trash pickup days. I’m glad to see that’s happening. If you can get people to help you pick up trash, it is not only fun, but you can cover more areas. I always have my stomach sink when I look at the side of the road, and I see nothing but trash on the side of it. I can rarely go a total of 24 hours without seeing an area that’s clean before it becomes dirty again. If you are interested in ways to help organize a community clean-up day, here are some helpful tips.
Tips for Planning a Community Clean-up
- Pick the Right Project for Your Community. You know your community. You may be aware of places that need attention, or people you know may mention significant areas that need help. Asking questions to those around you also helps provide intel on areas that get trashed often.
- Make a Detailed Event Plan. Most projects work best when there’s a plan in place. Very few work well with a fly-by-night option. Figure out how many people are willing to help you and how much territory you can cover.
- Choose an Enthusiastic Leader. Choose someone with high energy and good organization skills. If you don’t know anyone like that, find people with great energy.
- Recruit Volunteers Early. This task is imperative because everyone has crazy schedules. When you can get people involved early, you have a higher chance of succeeding in reaching more of a target area.
- Get Supplies Donated. Try not to spend money unless it’s covering lunch or something to that effect. If you can get trash bags, gloves, pick-up grabbers, and any other necessities donated, it will help keep your out-of-pocket expenses down.
- Assign Specific Tasks During the Clean-up. If people know what task they are in charge of, they can often take ownership and feel good about those goals. Plus, it saves time when people have tasks. Taller folks will be able to reach further than shorter folks. On the flip side, shorter folks can do things that are more difficult than taller folks. Use height advantages to your advantage.
- Make a Plan for Debris Removal. If you need to take things to the city or county dump, be sure to make provisions for that option. If you are doing a community day and adopting a street, many states have those programs in place and provide the bags and provide guidelines that need to adhere. No matter what realm your company falls under, make sure you’ve researched and taken the proper steps necessary to ensure an excellent experience for all involved.
- Reward Your Volunteers. Cleaning up is hard and tedious work. Don’t forget to take care of your folks that are helping to take care of the land. Be sure to reward them for their efforts. A little reward means a greater sense of pride and satisfaction in the long run.
This weekend, I hope you can enjoy it by experiencing cleaner streets and places. But, if streets and areas are littered, maybe help clean them up a little. You never know. It could be refreshing to see a cleaner environment. If nothing else, you can take out frustration and get in some exercise by pretending the trash is someone who pissed you off. I can tell you from experience that I’ve done this in the past, and it works wonders for me. Have a great weekend, everyone.