I was driving on a major freeway the other day when a friend, who lives in Europe, asked me about how our roads get cleaned and who picks up the trash. I told him about the “Adopt-a-Highway” programs and the occasional pickup by people doing community service instead of time in jail, but I’ve been noticing how dirty the highways are and that neither of these programs seems to be able to keep the roads clean. A nonprofit started by two recent college graduates is literally hoping to change the landscape.
Pick Up America is walking coast-to-coast to pick up trash and educate America about the amount of waste we produce and the amount of litter cluttering our roads, highways and parks. In 2010, the team of volunteers traveled 735 miles and removed over 73,000 pounds of trash. Along the way, they spoke at 40 schools and co-hosted more than 70 events. A primary objective in 2010 was to produce a documentary about the amount of waste on the roads and what it would take to clean it up.
In 2011, Pick Up America wants to do even more and plans to travel from Ohio to Colorado picking up trash, educating the public, working with local non-profits and raising awareness. One of their plans is to create art pieces in several major cities made out of trash they collect along the road.
You can help Pick Up America and their Bagabounds project in a couple of different ways:
- Follow them on Facebook
- Follow their Tour and join them at events in 2011
- Support their project over on StartSomeGood and help them feed their volunteers and interns as they continue to pick up trash across America
Photo credit: Pick Up America