By Ariel Herrod, CURE Program Assistant
A sunny day with a high of 55.
I don’t know if any of you remember the weather this past Wednesday, November 15, but it was beautiful. After the bone-chilling, heart-breaking, brassica-killing frost of Sunday night, the earth saw fit to grant us a sunny day with a high of 55, and the staff of CURE celebrated with a little road-side clean-up shindig.
CURE Highway Clean-ups began in 2008
After lunch, we donned fluorescent yellow vests to keep us safe from the motorists and blaze orange caps to keep us safe from the hunters and zipped over to the 2-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 212 that runs parallel to the Minnesota River between Granite Falls and Montevideo. Over 6 years ago, CURE adopted that stretch of highway, agreeing to pick up trash twice a year, once during the spring and once during the fall, as part of our effort to keep the Minnesota River clean.
Schmidt’s comes in as a close second.
We expected to find the pick-up overwhelming since we usually bring a large group of volunteers to help us, but the road-sides looked pretty spiffy even without our work. It was a relief for us, and we are grateful for all of you out there that take responsibility for your trash by keeping it safely inside your car.
Nevertheless, we still collected seven trash bags of stuff, and a disturbing amount of it was (empty) beer cans and liquor bottles. Perhaps we should ask the alcohol industry to take on the Don’t Litter campaign to reach the as-of-yet unhearing constituents? Or maybe just redouble their efforts with the Don’t Drink and Drive campaign. Plastic bottles, bottle caps, bags and packaging were plentiful along with discarded fast food meals.
At the same time, some of the stuff that people tossed out of the windows of their cars was perfectly useful—I pocketed two bucks and a box of matches! This seems pretty consistent with statewide trends: a recent MPCA report discovered that Minnesotans threw away about $285 million in recyclable material in 2010. What a waste, eh?
For writers and criminal investigators.
They say that both writers and criminal investigators like to go through people’s trash to learn about their habits and lifestyle. For a chance to learn more about your fellow citizens, keep your eyes out for opportunities to volunteer with our next highway clean-up this spring. It’s a chance to meet other CURE members and volunteers, all within the sight of the beautiful Minnesota River you and CURE are working to protect.