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Roadside Cleanup

Littering is illegal in many states, but often we pass by unsightly trash by the roadside.
Cleaning up a roadside is a great project for all ages. By picking litter along a highway or park area, you can keep the community clean and beautiful. You might even help brighten the drivers’ day as they travel on a pristine road.

Steps

  • Enlist volunteers. Advertise through the church bulletin, Sunday School groups and e-mail.
  • Take time to brief the volunteers about dress codes and safety instructions. Some things to consider:
    • Wear a long sleeved shirt, jeans, tennis shoes or boots, gloves, and a hat, even when it will be warm. This protects from ticks, sunburns, and objects that might cut or scratch their bodies.
    • Certain items should not be picked up by hand, e.g. soiled diapers, bottles with urine, and drug needles.
  • Tires may contain snakes, rodents, or water with mosquito eggs. Handle with care.
  • Contact your local recycling centers to see if they can donate orange safety vests to increase the volunteers’ visibility to drivers. http://search.earth911.com/
  • Make arrangements with the county road department to schedule garbage pick up.
  • Gather supplies. You will need plenty of trash bags, sticks with a nail to pick up certain items, gloves, a first aid kit, water bottles for drinking and water for washing hands. Have a separate bag for recyclable items. Ask for donations from local businesses such as discount department stores and drug stores.
  • On the day of the pickup, be safe at all times. Be mindful of passing vehicles, broken glass, animals, and insect bites. Youth should have plenty of adult supervision. 
  • Divide the group into small teams to avoid too much overlapping.

Tips

  • Scout the area to get an idea of the type of trash on the roadside.
  • Some states have a Adopt-A-Highway/Spot Program. In North Carolina, small groups agree to pick up litter at least four times a year along a two-mile section of state-maintained roadway. The Department of Transportation will erect two signs identifying the adopted stretch of roadside to recognize the group’s contribution. Consider signing up to this program if you wish to dedicate your time and effort to a particular stretch of road.
  • Contact your local recycling centers to see if they can donate orange safety vests to increase the volunteers’ visibility to drivers. http://search.earth911.com/

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