Toward a Trash-Free DC

Springhill Lake Elementary School Cleanup. Photo by Cindy Murray.

Springhill Lake Elementary School Cleanup. Photo by Cindy Murray.

Mark your calendar for Saturday morning, April 4 for the Potomac River Watershed Cleanup, organized by the Alice Ferguson Foundation.  The goal is to pick up as much trash as possible before spring rains wash it into the creeks, streams, rivers, and bays (and eventually back into our drinking water and recreational areas).  According to their website, “since 1989, more than 40,000 volunteers have teamed with 300 partner organizations to tug over 1,500 tons of trash from the watershed´s streams, rivers and bays. Last year´s haul of over 291 tons included more than 18 tons of recyclables, 2,625 tires, 13,000 balls, 25 bicycles, 26 shopping carts, 100lb of metal piping, 6 TVs and 2 bathtubs!” 

This is a fun event for all ages and abilities, with 22 sites in the District ready to roll, and lots more across the region. But this is only part of what individuals can do as part of the Trash-Free Potomac Watershed Initiative.  Here’s a handy checklist for everyone to improve the health and human enjoyment of rivers and streams of the Potomac River Watershed.  Consider pledging to do your part by:

  • properly disposing of trash
  • picking up one piece of litter each day
  • purchasing products made of recycled materials and with less packaging
  • recycling at home, office, school, and any public event
  • using reusable shopping bags
  • limiting use of single-use beverage containers

My personal goal this year is to limit (or eliminate) purchases of things that don’t go in the recycling bin, compost vegetable scraps, and always carry a reusable shopping bag.  I’m also pledging to talk about this to people in my neighborhood, neighborhood businesses, my officemates–and you.  I’ll be posting more about technologies that turn waste into resources, so stay tuned!

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