Oscar the Grouch may love trash but most people find it unpleasant. And for aquatic species, it’s downright harmful. The Watershed Project has sponsored many creek cleanups over the years, but ask any volunteer and they’ll tell you that the trash keeps coming back.
The Taking out the Trash Campaign, spearheaded by Clean Water Action, is addressing trash with an innovative tool set. Instead of just counting and categorizing the trash, a specially-trained group of volunteers are tracing trash items found on streets and sidewalks back to their source, i.e. the point of sale. The data and analysis will be used to reach out to merchants and local institutions and work with them to reduce their trash footprint.
As part of this campaign, The Watershed Project is conducting trash surveys in two different neighborhoods in Richmond.The first site, located in the Santa Fe Watershed, is near the downtown Richmond BART station on MacDonald Avenue. Besides being a major transit corridor, this business district has many restaurants that cater to the lunch-time crowd, including Burger King, and a large supermarket. The Baxter Creek Watershed site is on San Pablo Avenue and extends from MacDonald Avenue to Barrett Ave and includes a small segment of Bissell Ave. This district is anchored by a large Safeway and contains a mix of small businesses and restaurants, larger fast food chains, and banks.
Participating in a Taking out the Trash event requires no prior experience. Teams of two work together, one person picking up the trash and calling out the item to be recorded by the other team member on a detailed data sheet. The majority of items on the data sheet are types of food packaging, much of it plastic. Volunteer Kelsie McInnis, a Geography student from San Francisco State, said she is helping with the campaign because she’d “like to help the environment and prevent trash and debris from moving into the ocean and harming wildlife.”
Upcoming Taking out the Trash events will be held on January 28, February 7, and February 21, weather permitting. All events will start at 10:00 a.m. and will take approximately 3 hours to complete. Training will be conducted on the day of the event and all equipment and a snack will be provided. Warm clothing and sun screen is recommended!
To sign up for an event and for more information, contact email@example.com.