Denise Clark: Trash pick up expose county’s alcohol problem |

Denise Clark: Trash pick up expose county’s alcohol problem

Who likes to look at trash? After years of picking up intermittently, I set out to pick up the entire roadway from my home to town, 10-plus miles. Thirty hours and 43 trash bags later, I have a new understanding of where our road trash comes from, a new appreciation of this amazingly, economical, outdoor exercise plan — 25,000 steps, 30 flights of stairs and 320 minutes of active heart rate in one day — and a new realization of the alcohol problem in our county.   

Loose garbage — paper, wrappers, packaging and plastic bottles or bags — blows around on our windy days from our trash cans, open car windows, truck beds or trash trucks, usually unintentionally. Other things like car parts, construction supplies, single-use dental flossers, a small animal cage complete with dead bird and a UPS-boxed Christmas toy can also be found. 

Most of the trash, however, was alcohol containers — intentionally thrown. Beer cans and glass bottles were everywhere; these could be recycled.  

In one quarter-mile section of Routt County Road 179, in a pretty little aspen grove, I found 423 Pabst Blue Ribbon 12- or 24-ounce cans, gobs of plastic shooters, Schnapps bottles and 19 1.75-liter vodka bottles were found. Wait, why are you drinking and driving? This is an accident that will happen, not just to you.

The cost of litter is substantial to all of us. It is estimated that $11.5 billion is spent on abatement and clean-up each year in the U.S. These are your tax dollars. With runoff, trash ends up in our waterways and eventually in the ocean.  


• Check your open truck bed before you drive off. 

• Stop if something flies out of your car window.  

• Cover your load to the dump.

• Pick up the obvious.  

• Bag trash in your bin. It is going to the dump anyway, a little extra plastic keeps it from becoming your neighbors’ problem. 

• Drink and litter at home — save a life, possibly yours.

Though I still have to stop four to five times on my “daily” commute, I love the ditches being trash free. Once a stretch is clean, it is easy to stop for one thing.  

The Routt County Community Clean-up is this weekend – let’s keep it clean.

Denise Clark

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