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Picking Up Roadside Litter

Helping to keep the roadsides free of litter in your neighborhood can be quite satisfying. You will want to have a good pair of gloves, a reach extender, and bags to put it in. Often your Department of Transportation will give you the bags and arrange to pick them up once filled. This is a guide about picking up roadside litter.
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February 2, 2017

A 60 degree day in February is an opportunity to get outside, soak up some vitamin D, get some fresh air and exercise, and enjoy nature.

Highway litter bugs me. I have been in a decluttering mood lately and felt like tackling an area of roadside trash that has caught my eye every time I have passed it.

I gathered my supplies and drove to the spot. In 1 1/2 hours I cleaned three tenths of a mile and stuffed 5 big bags with trash.

I knew it was bad, but didn't expect to be picking up that much. Although I got the worst of it, if my back will let me, I'll go back tomorrow and do a little more. After that, we are in for more cold weather and I'll be stuck in the house for a while.

To me, decluttering the highway is much easier than decluttering the house. There are no decisions to make, just pitch that litter in the bag and throw it away. For me, that's a stress reliever and gives me much satisfaction. It makes me happy to look back and see that clean roadside.

Where we live, the winter months are the best time of the year for picking up litter. The grass is short making the litter so accessible and there are no insects bothering you.

If you would like to pick up litter, you will need some cotton gloves, a reach extender, and something to put litter in. Call your local Dept. of Transportation. They will probably be glad to supply you with bags, a safety vest, and pick up the bagged litter for disposal.

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February 2, 20171 found this helpful
Top Comment

I must say that determination is the key to getting things done. I went back today and finished what I wanted to do. I picked up another 5 bags of litter and the road looks good, once again.

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I'm going to start walking this section and keep it clean. That will be good exercise and much easier to do than what I have done these 2 days.

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February 5, 20171 found this helpful
Top Comment

I applaud you for your actions! This is constructive on so many levels. Obviously, its beneficial to your community, as things simply look better. But there is the fresh air aspect for you, the exercise aspect, the example you are setting for others, etc.

Around my area the sheriff's office oversees people doing this as part of their sentences for committing a crime. Part of this is a deterrent issue as people don't enjoy being seen on the highway doing this (since everyone knows its a punishment), but I also think it makes sense to have these people doing something positive for the community for having broken the law. Time to think, a job to do, fewer people in a jail cell for misdemeanors, etc.

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Its a beautiful day today and I might just go pick up some trash! Thanks for sharing!

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February 23, 20170 found this helpful
Top Comment

Robert, I agree that people should be prepared to keep their litter inside their vehicle. We keep some plastic grocery bags in our vehicles for that reason.

Littering is a childish, selfish act that is harmful to the environment and wildlife. It needs to be stopped.

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June 7, 2011

Picking up litter during the hot summer months is not my favorite thing to do, but I'm proud of the sections of roadside my husband and I keep clean. When we know the highway mowers will be in our area soon, we make a special effort to keep the litter picked up.

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It not only makes the highway beautiful after the mowing, it makes the job of picking up the litter much easier and faster. We have a friend that gives us a call to let us know when the road in his area is being mowed. Usually the mowers are in our area within a week.

When picking up litter during the hot summer months, we get out before 10:00 AM, while it is still cool and the sun is not damaging to the skin. We get some good walking exercise. Some folks even wave and toot their horn as they pass by, which lets us know they appreciate what we are doing. It's a great way to start the day.

This is a check list of things I have on hand when picking up litter:

  • large trash bags
  • Walmart bags
  • bag holders
  • reach extenders
  • cell phone
  • sun visor
  • cotton garden gloves
  • pocket knife
  • bottle opener
  • water
  • insect repellent
  • sun screen

What do you need to keep the road in your neighborhood litter free?

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By littergitter from NC

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June 8, 20110 found this helpful
Top Comment

Kudos to you and your husband - what great earth partners you are! As an environmental educator, I'm going to share your post with my students in the Dallas area as an example of what dedicated folks who love their city/area will do to keep it clean, despite the fact that the litter came from someone else! You are awesome!

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