The Great American Clean Up Starts Today

March 1 heralds the start of the Great American Clean Up. As Environmental Commissioner of the 35th Council District in Nashville, I’ll be organizing three or more clean ups. At least once a week, I’ll go out and pick up trash around my home.

Last Wednesday night, I had an appointment in a Belle Meade office complex. Belle Meade is one of the pricier areas of Nashville, not the 35th district. I parked by a mostly full Mello Yello plastic bottle in the parking lot. Normally, I would leave the bottle, but now I’m picking up plastic bottles in parking lots. Since I couldn’t find a recycling bin in the lobby of the office building, I just tossed the bottle in the trash. I think it’s better to put it in a trash can than leave it in the parking lot. I had to pick the lesser of two evils: toss a recyclable bottle in the trash or leave it in the parking lot. You know, it’s kind of like voting for president.

Try to pick up at least one piece of litter a day for the next three months to celebrate the Great American Clean Up. From the Keep America Beautiful website, here are other suggestions:

* Work with the local civic groups to identify and eliminate eyesores, and beautify the local environment.
* Pick up a piece of litter every day.
* Keep a litter bag in your car or your recreational vehicle so you dispose of litter properly.
* Create a trash fishing contest in your waterway to increase awareness about illegal dumping and littering.
* Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper asking others to respect public lands and keep them clean.
* Help your local schools conduct recycling drives and clean-up projects.
* Create a beautiful green space by planting trees and shrubs in an area in need of improvement.
* Ask local businesses to adopt-a-spot and take care of it.
* Paint and fix up playground equipment.
* Organize a paint-out with family and friends, and create a community paintbrush mural over a wall of illegal graffiti.
* Recycle your old tires.
* Report graffiti to your local authorities.
* Donate your old computer equipment or dispose of it properly.
* Conduct a recycling drive in your neighborhood or your business.
* Volunteer to help your employer conduct paper recycling drives at work.
* Donate gently used clothes to needy organizations and shelters and identify other items that you can reuse.
* Compost yard and food waste and seek advice if you don’t know how.
* Find out how pollution in stormdrain runoff can impact our aquifers and ecosystems, and be passionate about doing your part to reduce litter and solid waste.
* Ask your local government officials to establish regular community improvement activities, and to support and promote volunteer efforts.
* Help your library establish an environmental corner that offers books and other educational materials about taking care of the Earth.

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