If you see it, pick it up!

You’ve heard Operation Green Team talk about this a lot. Our primary mission is to prevent littering in Huntsville. However, there are still people who tend to somehow lose their trash throughout our city. That’s a reason why we encourage our citizens to pick up what they see. If everyone picked up just one piece of litter daily, there would be no litter.

Operation Green Team is dedicated to keeping Huntsville beautiful, but we can’t do that without you. As spring arrives, there are many scheduled and unscheduled activities in which you can participate.

Between volunteers and employees, we do have quite a bit of help. We could always use more. We cannot be there every time a piece of trash flies out of a car window or a cigarette butt is discarded on the ground. You might witness it, though. There are plenty of easy things you can do to help keep Huntsville pristine and clean.

Pitching in to help

Are you a business owner, apartment manager or member of a neighborhood association? Create a team whose responsibility it is to clean up your surrounding area. A beautiful and clean environment spurs happiness, healthiness, increases property values and encourages community building.

Join our  Adopt a Mile Program. Your organization, business or friend group can adopt a mile in Huntsville and ensure that section is cleaned up. We’ll provide all the supplies you need, like vests, bags, pick-up sticks and gloves. All you have to do it organize a cleanup and get to work. Once everything is picked up, make sure to dispose of the trash properly. You can even make this a fun event with a picnic or party afterward.

The same goes for neighborhood cleanups. Make it fun. You don’t need us to host one — host your own!

Neighborhood cleanups are different than Adopt a Miles, in that, you don’t need to let us know when you’re having one. We would love to see photos from your cleanups and, if you need supplies, we’re happy to provide them.

Neighborhood cleanups

There are so many neighborhood cleanups that go on around the city during the year. Three of the big cleanups we host are coming up soon so be sure to join us.

On April 14, we’ll be at Jemison High School for the North Huntsville Cleanup presented by Council Member Devyn Keith and in partnership with the Alabama A&M Student Day of Service.

The Five Points Cleanup, headquartered at Lewter Park, will be May 12.

You can also join Council Member Jennie Robinson at the Sandra Moon Community Complex (Old Grissom High School) for the South Huntsville Cleanup on May 19.

Your cleanups don’t have to be large or elaborate like these events. A small get-together is perfectly easy and fun to organize. If you’re wanting to do something smaller that makes a huge impact, there are plenty of things you can do to help out.

Litter along the roadside

One of the main sources of litter comes from vehicles. Prevent litter from falling out of your car by putting a reusable trash container in your vehicle. We have a reusable Operation Green Team trash bag we can give you or make your own with plastic containers you probably have on your shelves, or even something as simple as an empty cereal carton. If you need a reusable cigarette butt container, we’re happy to give you one of those as well.

Do you frequently jog? Try the new plogging trend, combining jogging with litter pick up.

Small changes, like using a reusable water bottle or coffee cup, go a long way to reducing litter and even saves you money. The easiest thing to do, and we can’t say it enough, is pick up what you see.

Businesses and tourists want to come to a clean city. People want to live in a clean, beautiful city. But littering can have a costly effect. Keep America Beautiful produced a thorough littering study in 2009. Among the findings:

  • Nearly 40 percent of roadside litter is tobacco-related, primarily cigarette butts (boo, hiss!)
  • There are more than 1.4 billion beverage containers on our roadways
  • Overall litter is down by 61 percent over the previous four decades (We’re making progress!)
  • Plastic litter, however, increased by 165 percent in that time
  • Young people are more likely to litter than older citizens
  • People are more apt to litter in a spot where there is other little already there (A big reason we should all pick up any litter we see)

This study showed that the cost of litter to the U.S. was $11.5 billion. That was in 2009, so you can only imagine today’s cost. Our programs can only do so much. Money can go only so far. But you can be a part of the solution to end littering in Huntsville. Every little action helps.


For questions or more information, call Green Team at 256-53-CLEAN or head to our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages.