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During the summer you may have noticed that we get trashed, and I don’t just mean the kids involved with the bar tender Olympics either. Piles of wrappers, pizza boxes, beer cans, and cups are strewn everywhere. I really don’t have to go very far at all to report this story. Almost daily during the summer I go out in our front yard and collect the trash that has accumulated in the bushes and along the street. Some of it gets there by accident, but some is deliberate toss offs. I have seen this happen more times than I care to share. Perhaps you remember the famous 70’s television public service announcement (PSA) “Keep America Beautiful” with the native American man witnessing the complete “uglying” of America. At the end of the thirty seconds he turns to the camera with a tear in his eye.

That is exactly how I feel, except I would be yelling, especially if I see another person tossing their trash on our front lawn. I am thinking of becoming a trash vigilante. Cigarette smokers seem to be the worst (forgive me I have many friends who smoke) but they ride along in the golf carts and flick their butts in and along the road. Despite what you may think it takes a very long time for the filters and paper to breakdown. Meanwhile it just looks bad. If I had half a chance I would grab the dead butt and hand it back to them.

Just go by the town parking lots, school lawn or ball field on a weekend morning and what do you see, trash everywhere. And if there was ever a pit of trash, the dumpsters along the water front, as big as they are, can’t seem to attract the plethora of trash and empty pizza boxes that end up strewn across DeRivera Park after a busy night.

People consume and dispose of their trash most of the time. While many probably make an effort to find a garbage can, a surprisingly large number don’t seem to care. I don’t think we can change this behavior, though with some signage we could probably make a few feel guilty enough to try.

During the summer season we spend many thousands of dollars and countless employee man-hours removing trash from our public places. Luckily these days much of the trash we generate can be recycled. And if we catch it before it gets mixed into a dumpster we can at least reduce the smelly garbage from the paper and plastic. So this rant is really a thank you note to all the people here on the island who do make a difference cleaning up the trash. You see them daily making their rounds. They clean up and make our island look tidy so the next group of visitors finds the island clean and appealing. From the township guys, to the Put-in-Bay employees, the DeRivera Trustee workers, the ball players and other regular folk making a personal effort trying to help keep our community looking nice. Thank you everyone!

I am not certain if we will ever overcome the trash problem created by our summer visitors, perhaps it is the price we pay for being a popular destination. But with recycling we can reduce the problem. By the way just in case you missed it, recycling hours at the Township center have changed recently. The new hours are 8-noon Wednesday and Saturday. That notice at the Post Office was what spurred me on to write this. Hope to see you on recycling day.

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