Ten bulldozers or 13 African bush elephants.
That is the equivalent weight of trash volunteers scooped up along Arizona’s highways last year, enough for 5,900 volunteers to fill more than 13,000 bags.
Volunteers joined the Arizona Department of Transportation to pick up trash along state highways for National Cleanup Day on Saturday.
According to ADOT, Americans discard more than 23 billion pieces of litter on U.S. roadways each year, equating to 73 littered items per U.S. resident.
In response, ADOT sponsors two cleanup efforts through its Adopt a Highway program — a two-year volunteer permit to clean litter and a program that allows people and businesses to sponsor cleanup efforts.
InMaricopa has sponsored a section of State Route 347 near Casa Blanca Road for nearly two decades and previously joined in cleanup efforts there. Publisher and owner Scott Bartle recalled the experience of donning safety vests and scouring the highway for trash.
“It was a great experience to volunteer together to help the environment and beautify the entrance to our community,” Bartle said.
He hopes it’ll inspire others to help keep Maricopa’s streets clean.
“Even though the sponsorship model is now to pay for a state vendor to clean it, we hope the end result still sets an example for others and instills pride in our community,” he said.