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Volunteer Litter Cleanup Week Swept Up the Trash

During the week of April 17-24, South Plainfield citizens came together to welcome spring by bagging the litter that emerged with the wildflowers as winter’s snow melted. Volunteer Litter Cleanup Week is a signature event in South Plainfield’s Clean Communities Calendar. We have been meeting every year for the last 35 years for this purpose. Except for last year’s hiatus caused by the pandemic, which presented us with just that much more litter to collect. This year, 240 volunteers showed up on Saturday, April 17 to remove accumulated litter and trash from the Borough’s roadsides, parks, open spaces, and municipal facilities. Scout troops, families, students, non-profit organizations, businesses, politicians – all sectors of the Borough were represented. Altogether, they filled over 215 orange trash bags with litter and recyclables. They cleaned 7 miles of roadside and 135 acres of parks and woods at 47 locations. Together with the unbagged heavy trash they pulled out of woods and ditches, we estimate that we cleaned up about 5 tons of illegally discarded waste. Workers reported unpleasant accumulations of PPE waste (discarded masks and gloves) as well as large amounts of illegally dumped solid waste. The most surprising were the forty-something crates of recently expired produce that the Knights of Columbus found dumped on Coolidge Street. Covid-19 safety rules were still in effect, so each litter crew was limited to no more than ten people who worked at least six feet apart from one another, gloved and masked. Because we could not hold the post-cleanup Pickup Pizza Picnic, volunteers were offered small Clean Communities gifts when they came to pick up supplies at the municipal building and coupons good for a sandwich or a slice of pizza and soda at local eateries. The Clean Communities Advisory Board is grateful to our event refreshments sponsors for donating the coupons: HomeTown Heros, Mr. Subs, Ciccio’s Pizza, and Luigi’s Pizza. Groups that participated in Cleanup Week: Scouts included Girl Scout Troops 65008, 65082 and 65489; Cub Scout Pack 224 and Boy Scout Troops 124, 125 and 309. Non-profits and other organizations included the NJ Buddha Light Cultural Center, the South Plainfield Environmental Commission, the South Plainfield Republican Organization, and the Knights of Columbus. From the educational sector, we had the High School National Honor Society, the High School Environmental Club, the High School French Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, and Student Leadership, Mrs. Garcia’s High School English Class, Mrs. Vigneri’s Class, and the Juniorettes. Harris Realty and Chick-fil-A joined Stillman Photography Services as participating members of the business community. Adopt-A-Spotters included the South Plainfield Business Association, the Roseo Family, the Bourbeau Family and Stillman Photography Services. Then there were the forty-five or so unaffiliated residents who came out on a spring weekend to help keep their community a beautiful place to live. The Clean Communities Advisory Board thanks all concerned for a strong effort and a successful result.