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Picking Up Trash A Good Way To Volunteer

June 13, 2013 Environment, Featured, Parks 14 Comments

Returning to our loft from a visit to Union Station last week, my boyfriend and I decided to check out the Meeting of the Waters fountain by Carl Milles in Aloe Plaza.

The beauty of Carl Milles' work with Union Station in the background
The beauty of Carl Milles’ work with Union Station in the background

Timidly DFS asked me if I minded if he picked up some trash while we were there. Mind? Of course not! Knock yourself out…

For the next 90 minutes we covered the two blocks of Aloe Plaza until it was clean
For the next 90 minutes we covered the two blocks of Aloe Plaza until it was clean
We quickly realized most of the trash cans were already overflowing with trash
We quickly realized many of the trash cans were already overflowing with trash
DFS collected quite a bit of trash, thankfully we found  a nearby trash can that had room
DFS collected quite a bit of trash, thankfully we found a nearby trash can that had room

A few times since he’s gone back to Aloe Plaza, and parts of the Gateway Mall to the east, to pick up more trash. He’s been looking for the right volunteer opportunity and helping clean the Gateway Mall seems to be a perfect fit.

Aloe Plaza isn't always this clean, but it looked nice when we left
Aloe Plaza isn’t always this clean, but it looked nice when we left

Picking up trash allows him to volunteer on his schedule and doesn’t require coordination with others. DFS hasn’t even lived in St. Louis for four months but already he’s making a small impact. DFS is the perfect boyfriend for me!

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "14 comments" on this Article:

  1. guest says:

    Good post. Another good example of leadership. In this case, leading by example. Everyone should pick up trash and no one should litter. But, for some reason, there are people who literally throw their garbage out the window of cars. Why would someone do that? Maybe another topic for a poll? My hunch is that people that do this have no self respect for themelves, no respect for others, and no respect for their neighborhood. But thank you for being the opposite: respect for self, respect for others, and respect for neighborhood. Two kinds of people I guess. Question is, can the latter rehabilitate the former?

  2. RyleyinSTL says:

    Nice work and thank you! The “guest” post is right…those who litter have no respect for the community or themselves. Every time a smoker tosses a lit cigarette out the car window, their lack of respect for our community, leaves me with both range and bewilderment. How could someone treat thier home that way? Doesn’t make any sense.

    Could the rubbish in Aloe Plaza be related to the folks who seem to be living there all the time? Or are the rubbish bins usually full?

    • guest says:

      “Rubbish” is one of my favorite words! I never think to use it and need to start doing so right away. Thanks for the suggestion and this post!

  3. JZ71 says:

    While I applaud your efforts, isn’t this why we pay taxes? The city expects us to keep our properties maintained, shouldn’t we expect the same from the public sector? And if we no longer have to resources to do so, maybe it’s time to sell off some of these assets? My observation is that many people (but not all) will use trash cans if they’re provided, but as you noted, one big issue here is that they’re not being emptied – penny wise and pound foolish!

    • moe says:

      First off the City employees can’t be everywhere and all cities have trash problems. I’ve even been to the almighty Clayton and seen trash on the grounds and overflowing trash cans. Secondly, I detest people throwing trash and cigarette butts out the windows as well and when they do, I blow my horn at them. guest above is correct….they have no respect for themselves or their environment. Whatever happened to Give A Hoot, Don’t Pollute?

      • Mark says:

        Now why would you refer to my city as “almighty”? We’ve done nothing to earn a sardonic comment like that!

      • JZ71 says:

        I agree and I was being a bit sarcastic. My point was about working smarter, not harder. Providing a few more trash cans AND keeping them emptied would be easier, cheaper and far more effective than having people (it doesn’t matter if they’re city employees, low-risk prisoners, community service workers or good-hearted volunteers) bending over and picking up trash one piece at a time. Sure, some people will always be inconsiderate slobs, and some will always “pack out” their trash, but for the ones in the middle, given the option, most will find a trash can and use it IF one is available. Go to any public beach on the coast, go to any shopping mall, go to any fast food restaurant and you will see what works. I don’t know if Steve’s experience and efforts was on a Monday after a big event or on a Thursday / typical work day, but the fact that the cans were full showed that most people were trying, there just was no place for the trash to go, except onto the ground . . . .

  4. guest says:

    Lately, there has been a rash of used mattresses being dumped in alleys. This is probably being done by mattress retailers not wanting to pay the cost of having their trash removed. Sadly, the city is a regional dumping ground. What can be done about that?

    • moe says:

      You call the police and report them for illegal dumping and make sure you get the license plate and a picture if possible.

      • guest says:

        They do it in the middle of the night when no one is watching.

        • moe says:

          That’s typical. I know some of the alleys known for dumping have had cameras installed courtesy of the Alderman to stop this practice. Then you also have idiots like what we saw yesterday…..a sofa stuffed into a dumpster half in, half in the air. Don’t these people even think how is the truck going to empty it? I mean, I know they don’t….but come on! Or even when people dump in the alley 3 weeks before bulk pick-up. Half the time, you an tell it’s been sitting in their basements for years, what would another week or so be?

  5. wump says:

    They do this with a group of volunteers once a month on cherokee st. Its great, the ‘hood looks a lot better afterwards, you meet some cool and weird people and they feed you breakfast. Its called fresh city project.


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