Green Up Day, a 52-year-old tradition that spans generations of volunteers, continues to impact our landscape and quality of life.
“Many residents have been contacting the Green Up Vermont office, concerned about the amount of trash on the roadsides this spring, looking for Green Up Day supplies and information, and also a solution. I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard ‘what kind of person thinks it is okay to roll down the window and toss their trash into the environment,’” states executive director Kate Alberghini. “It is indeed disappointing and there is no good answer, other than continuing to work year-round on a variety of initiatives inclusive of continuing to promote the ever-so important Green Up Day, and extend education for waste reduction.”
Giving up on Green Up Day because litter keeps happening would be disastrous to our state. Beyond having an unhealthy impact on where we live, work and play, our tourism economy would suffer immensely. Additionally, municipalities just don’t have room in their budgets to include the labor for litter clean up. To do the math – if the 22,000 volunteers in 2021 were paid minimum wage for only two hours of time (most work far longer than that!) it would cost well over a half a million dollars! So how do we combat the problem of litter.
“This year has been amazing in the support and eagerness of volunteers getting out and cleaning up already. There are a few towns who have already run out of the signature Green Up Day bags and have requested more,” says Alberghini. Many schools are back and more interested than ever to do their part. Communities are reviving their outreach and sense of celebration around Green Up Day with community projects, volunteer breakfasts and pot-luck lunches. This togetherness is fueled by two years of social distance that never let go of the social duty to work together in cleaning our environment.
2021 Green Up Day statistics showed trash pickup increased by 70% or higher. Vermonters cleaned 75% of the approximately 13,000 miles of town roads. With more people involved this year and the heightened concern for our trashy roadsides, we are challenging more Vermonters, clubs, and businesses to get out and help us Clean Every Mile! Together we can do this and prove to the nation that litter has no place here. Our entire ‘Brave Little State’ can make this very large statement which will in turn get more people to listen and act in ways that will further protect our environment with waste reduction, innovative recycling efforts and will further inspire future generations to be influencers for a clean environment by making simple changes to their everyday routines. The habit of keeping the environment clean will make a huge difference to the health of our planet.
Green Up Day is Saturday May, 7. Consider grabbing a friend or your family and taking a walk with a Green Up Day trash bag. Find your town details at Greenupvermont.org.
Green Up Vermont is a private nonprofit that relies on the contributions from corporate partners including Casella, Subaru of New England, VSECU, Greenbacker Capital, Co-op Insurance Co., Encore Renewable Energy, UVM Health Network, Lawson’s Finest Liquids, and Hagan Associates, American Chemistry Council, along with others and individuals to ensure programs such as the poster contest and Green Up Day happen. Individuals can choose to donate to Green Up Vermont on line 23, Charitable Tax Contribution, on the Vermont State Income Tax return or donate online. To learn how to get involved with Green Up Vermont go to www.greenupvermont.org. Green Up supplies will be distributed to towns in early April. Be sure to mark your calendars for the 52nd Green Up Day, May 7th.
About Green Up Vermont: Started in 1970 by Governor Deane C. Davis, Green Up Vermont is a private 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to raise public awareness about a litter free environment, culminating with a statewide clean up event called Green Up Day. Always the first Saturday in May, Green Up Day is a statewide initiative where volunteers from over 247 Vermont communities and local businesses clean up litter from roadsides and waterways. Green Up Vermont also offers an educational component for grades K-12 with free activity booklets and other materials and activities that build their civic engagement and pride for clean environments. Green Up Vermont will celebrate its 52nd Anniversary this May. Green Up Vermont relies on the generous support of businesses, grants, and individuals to fund the organization. www.greenupvermont.org.