Green Up Day is a 52-year-old Vermont tradition that spans generations of volunteers and continues to impact our landscape and quality of life. This Saturday, May 7, grab a friend and your green Green Up bags and head out to beautify a local roadside.
“Many residents have been contacting the Green Up Vermont office, concerned about the amount of trash on the roadsides this spring, looking for Green Up Day supplies and information, and also a solution. I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard ‘what kind of person thinks it is OK to roll down the window and toss their trash into the environment,’” Green Up Vermont Executive Director Kate Alberghini said. “It is indeed disappointing and there is no good answer, other than continuing to work year-round on a variety of initiatives inclusive of continuing to promote the ever-so important Green Up Day, and extend education for waste reduction.”
Municipalities don’t have room in their budgets to include the labor for litter cleanup. To do the math — if the 22,000 volunteers in 2021 were paid minimum wage for only two hours of time (most work far longer than that!) it would cost well over $500,000, so how do we combat the problem of litter?
“This year has been amazing in the support and eagerness of volunteers getting out and cleaning up already. There are a few towns who have already run out of the signature Green Up Day bags and have requested more,” said Alberghini.
Many schools are back and more interested than ever to do their part. Communities are reviving their outreach and sense of celebration around Green Up Day with community projects, volunteer breakfasts and pot-luck lunches. This togetherness is fueled by two years of social distance that never let go of the social duty to work together in cleaning our environment.
The 2021 Green Up Day statistics showed trash pickup increased by 70% or higher. Vermonters cleaned 75% of the approximately 13,000 miles of town roads.
With more people involved this year and the heightened concern for our trashy roadsides, we are challenging more Vermonters, clubs, and businesses to get out and help Clean Every Mile. “Together we can do this and prove to the nation that litter has no place here. Our entire ‘Brave Little State’ can make this very large statement, which will in turn get more people to listen and act in ways that will further protect our environment with waste reduction, innovative recycling efforts and will further inspire future generations to be influencers for a clean environment by making simple changes to their everyday routines. The habit of keeping the environment clean will make a huge difference to the health of our planet,” Alberghini said in a statement.
Find out where to get green bags and the details of your town’s collection efforts at Greenupvermont.org.