You might never give a second thought to trash collection services other than to place your trash on the end of your driveway on the appropriate day. My name is Lisa, and I want to tell you why you should think about your local sanitation and what happens to your trash after the garbage workers have taken it away. Did you know that trash that is not appropriately collected can cause health problems in your community? It can also damage the environment and the quality of your water and air. Educate yourself about what happens to the trash in your community so you can effectively fight for the health of your family and your planet.
Vacant lots that are overflowing with trash and debris not only cause home values to plummet, they pose a safety hazard to local children and pets as well. It's apparent that eyesore areas like these need to be cleaned up, but paying cleaning companies to come in and take over is costly. What's a town to do? Organize a community cleanup -- that's what! When you involve the community in your project, the expenses involved are minimal -- renting a commercial-sized dumpster, printing and distributing flyers, and finding a way to reward participants afterward are basically all you'll need. Here's how to do it in four simple steps:
1. Designate the Area for Improvement
You may have more than one lot that needs attention, but try to localize your community project around a workable area. If the first one is a success, you can also plan a second and a third to take care of the other hot spots around town. Biting off too big a piece in the beginning can discourage people from wanting to help.
2. Organize Your Plan of Attack
3. Kick Off Your Cleanup
When the day arrives, kick it off with a nice motivational speech by someone in the community who excels at public speaking. Have a water committee standing by with free water bottles for participants, and arrange a centralized supply station stocked with garbage bags, boxes, rakes, shovels, and more.
Throughout the day, you might arrange for fun activities to keep the kids happy -- maybe the ice cream truck could put in regular appearances, or the town could spring for a slip-and-slide for the day.
As the cleanup continues, give updates from a podium. Keep a running tally of how many garbage bags have been filled or how many pounds of items have been recycled so far. This will help inspire and motivate people to keep going.
4. Bring on the Rewards
At the end of the day, ring a bell or blow a whistle to let everyone know that the project has concluded. Gather everyone around and thank them for their community service and then point them to the reward. Make sure you either give people time to go home and clean up or that you provide a cleanup station on-site. As an added incentive, you might invite the families who participated to use any remaining space in the dumpsters to get rid of their own household refuse. If this is your plan, make sure to keep your dumpsters for at least one extra day to give people time to gather up and drop off their unwanted items.
After your cleanup, you may want to consider planting the space as a community garden or park to help boost community morale.
Using these four easy steps, you can plan a community cleanup that's both fun and productive without breaking the town budget.