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Sustainability Stories: October 2021

Good News from World Clean-Up Day

Monday, October 4, 2021  by qrelihan

   Last Thursday I went out in my neighborhood with a trash bag and a pair of gloves to pick up trash.  I have always thought of my neighborhood to be very clean and did not expect to come close to filling up a full trash bag.  I was wrong. It didn't take long for the cigarette butts, face masks and Dunkin Donuts cups to add up, making my bag heavier with every street I went down.  At first seeing all the trash was discouraging, but I soon realized that majority of what I picked up could be recycled or find a second life that wasn't a brick sidewalk.  

   For instance, all the plastic coffee cups, and water bottles can be sent to a recycling facility instead of a sidewalk or landfill.  It got me thinking about access to recycling bins because trash cans are on every street corner, but recycling bins are not.  In fact, I think if there were recycling bins next to every trash can in my neighborhood, then more trash would be kept off the sidewalks and out of landfills.  I'm not saying that there wouldn't be litter, but there would be an improvement.  The same goes for our office spaces, if there is no recycling bin then no trash can be diverted from landfills, but if there is a recycling bin next to every trash can, then that much more trash will be kept out of landfills. 

   Another positive take away from my trash pick-up was finding out that I was not the only one out there picking up trash.  As I was making my way down one of the side streets in my neighborhood, I was stopped by a woman who teased me saying I was taking her job.  She then proceeded to tell me that every week she goes out with a trash bag and picks up the litter on her street.  This woman was not motivated, nor did she have any knowledge of World Clean-Up Day, she simply picked up trash because she wanted to preserve the beauty & cleanliness of her neighborhood.  It made me realize that picking up trash is easy and seeing that I bought a pack of gloves it is something I can and will continue to do.  

Below is a picture of the garbage I picked up in my neighborhood (I was only out there for an hour)

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