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Taking out the Trash; Preparing for Litter Bit Better 2019

April 24, 2019 06:55 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Now that Winter is finally over, the grass is getting greener, flowers are starting to bud and birds are starting to sing. But you may have noticed something else amongst the grass... and one group is hoping that you'll help keep Rochester clean with a campaign that starts in just a few days.

Over a decade ago, says Communications Coordinator for Public Works Megan Moeller, a couple of concerned citizens came to then Mayor Brede with an idea to keep Rochester clean. Asking, 'Why can't we do something about the litter that's out here?'  That idea has now turned into a city-wide, annual event.

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"Every year for a week in April or early May, over three... four thousand volunteers get out, across Rochester," says Moeller, "and pick up litter. It's a truly remarkable event."

Whether that trash is caught in the trees or discarded on the ground, over the course of about nine days, Litter Bit Better is hoping to keep up with the numbers its seen in previous years - collecting thousands of pounds of litter. But those pounds of litter couldn't get collected without the help of thousands of volunteers... some who have been participating since the start.

"A lot of repeat volunteers. There are some people that have had the same spot since the inception of a Litter Bit Better... from year after year to that same place which is just awesome," says Megan Moeller, the Communications Coordinator for Rochester Public Works.

With the cleaning officially starting on the 27th of April, running through the 5th of May. Which means that volunteers, or those thinking about volunteering, can not only pick a day but also a time that works perfectly

 for them, or their group, to get out and pick up trash.

"An hour to two, is what people tend to put in and that works great. Some people put in a lot more time, they'll pick up multiple sites others will put in the time they can and that's great," says Moeller. 

And during that week, any and all litter will be picked up - from discarded wrappers and cigarette buds... to car keys and even phones.

"One of the craziest stories I can remember is someone found an iPhone and they managed to... it still had some charge to it when they tried to wake it up, one of the people in the group recognized a face that was on there and were able to get that phone back to its rightful owner," laughed Megan Moeller, Communications Coordinator for Rochester Public Works, still in disbelief. At the end of the week, a list comes out of the strangest items that had been picked up.

And while volunteers may be new or have been cleaning since the start, Megan Moeller says that their take away is always the same.

"A lot of the feedback we get is that they're happy to give something back to the community... finding it's important to help do their part to keep it clean."

If you'd like to register to clean, you can find available spots (marked by green) on the RNeighbors website.

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