Earth Day Cleanup Recap 2016

This year I spend my Earth Day and Earth Day weekend enjoying and helping nature. After work on Earth Day I enjoyed some local hiking while finishing up a geocaching series, which I began last year. It was wonderful to be on the trail and enjoying nature with such great weather, finally spring has arrived. The trails were mostly deserted with the exception of two people. I found the last three geocaches I needed just before sunset. I finished out my evening by watching the Reuse Because documentary which I had downloaded earlier in the week with my Earth Day t-shirt purchase.


Saturday morning I woke up and headed to a local park to participate in an Earth Day cleanup. I’m proud to say I cleaned the side of the pond I was assigned expertly. I was even able to separate trash from recycling as that is what matters when cleaning up. There wasn’t as much recycling as I expected but so much more trash, mainly in the form of cigarette butts. I didn’t think people really smoked anymore! I worked from 9am-Noon and was so glad I could be so thorough with cleaning, since I really carry enough trash bags with me while hiking to take everything I see.


Late Sunday morning, I attended another town sponsored cleanup event. This one didn’t expect volunteers to separate trash and recycling, as participants only received one black trash bag to cleanup with. I brought my own recycling bags and filled two bags to make sure they didn’t go to the landfill. It would have been quite comical putting two bags of recycling on my bicycle to take home with me, I’m glad I didn’t have to. Recently I’ve loved having a bicycle to commute places with in town, it is especially helpful when I go such short distances without causing emissions.


I really was astonished by how many single use beverage bottles I collected. It makes me so glad to realize how many bottles I must have saved over the years with my reusable bottle. The strangest item found while cleaning seemed to be an inflatable plastic palm tree. I was also able to take home a perfectly working hi-liter as well as some garden fencing.


I was rather disappointed at the organization of the event with a central check-in point at a different location than the parks. The fellow volunteers also expressed their concern about not knowing what to do with their filled trash bags when they were done. One family took it in their car and another gentleman who walked to the site left his next to a trash can near the park. During the clean-up I talked with the volunteers and they say they would have happily separated the trash and recycling if they were asked to do. Perhaps event organization needs to be tweaked a bit to be geared more towards the environment if we are out there claiming we are helping the earth.

It seems like a lot of fossil fuel wasted when asking volunteers to drive to the check-in point then head to the park site, some of which were on the opposite sides of town. This is especially true when they might plan on cleaning a park right next to their home/neighborhood.

Overall Earth Day weekend was great, because I got to do even more of what I normally do but cleaning up areas so everyone can enjoy them trash free.