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Report on 2-17-2018 Adopt-A-Highway Litter Pickup

Mark your calendar: Saturday, March 17, 2018 is the next Adopt-A-Highway Litter Pickup on Highway 280. JUST THE FACTS: Date: Saturday, February 17, 2018 Location: Highway 280 NB between Meridian Avenue and Saratoga Avenue Time: About 3 hours – 9:15 AM -12:15 PM. Participants: 7 volunteers. Sabine and I were joined by veteran volunteers Crista, John, and Charlie, plus two newcomers, Mary and Penny. What we collected: 25 total bags, 3 of which were recyclable aluminum cans, glass bottles and plastic bottles. Any cash? 55¢. Crista found a quarter and a nickel, others found single nickels and dimes. Oddities along with the trash ( ▸ A single pink child’s boot. ▸ A Tyrolean felt hat in good condition. ▸ A small green Christmas tree ornament. ▸ Dozens of business cards for Green Cab. ▸ A fake $100 bill used for advertising a tax preparation service. ▸ A binary sliderule (also called a circular sliderule). Read all about them. ▸ A California drivers license with a credit card, and an Illinois drivers license with four credit cards. We were able to return the California license, but haven’t been able to connect with the woman who lost the Illinois license. ▸ Two foreign coins, badly mangled by rolling around on the highway. One is a 2 rupee coin (worth about 2¢) and a 50 drachma coin (worth about 18¢). What do you suppose the odds are of finding *any* foreign currency on the highway? What do you suppose the odds are of finding *two* pieces of foreign currency from two different countries? TWO NEWCOMERS I love introducing new volunteers to the experience of picking up litter along the highway. It is truly eye-opening, perhaps even life-changing. While it’s wonderful if they become regular volunteers, it’s also good if they only come out with us once. They carry the memory with them for years, and they talk about it with friends and neighbors and co-workers. It really does change the way you see the highway, litter, recycling, and trash in general. Mary had been reading these trash reports for many months, waiting for a month when the Saturday chosen for our litter pickups was open on her calendar. February 2018 was the lucky month! Penny had also heard about these litter pickups and had actually emailed me in January expecting to hear we’d be going out a the Saturday around the middle of the month. We went out on January 6, very early in the month, because of scheduling conflicts the other Saturdays. They were both part of the team this month and of course we hope they will come back again. THAT UGLY PATCH OF WHITE PLASTIC PANELS Do you ever drive along 280 around Winchester Avenue and wonder why that ugly patch of white plastic is STILL there on the north side? Some of you may remember the brief time when this was a patch of flowers. Around 2010-2011, Toyota purchased the right to plant flowers there. It turned out to be a very bad idea for traffic flow because motorists slowed down to look at it. What remains of the project is a collection of white plastic panels, weeds growing through them, held in place by a rusted metal frame that is solidly bolted into the ground. Do you wonder why somebody hasn’t figured out how to remove that awful eyesore? Believe me, we tried several times to remove it ourselves and it’s not going to budge without heavy equipment. And, yes, I’ve emailed and spoken to CalTrans about removing it. It does not appear to be a high priority. SHASTA-HANCHETT NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION AWARD Sabine and I were delighted to receive an award from the Shasta-Hanchett Neighborhood Associationin January. This yearly award is presented to local residents who “lead by example.” While we manage these Adopt-A-Highway litter pickups without expecting recognition or reward, it is nice to get a pat on the back. SAY NO TO PLASTIC STRAWS Sabine and I decided to collect the straws we found. We picked up fifteen of them. That may not seem like a lot, but we picked up just two areas covering perhaps a total of 300 yards along one side of Highway 280. Multiply that small number times two (BOTH sides of the highway) and then times the hundreds of miles of highway just in the San Francisco Bay area! Remember that plastic straws are designed to be used exactly once and then discarded. There is no expectation that they will be recycled. Very few people use straws in their homes, yet we expect to be provided one when we eat in a restaurant. Please say no to straws and don’t let your friends use straws. Buy, carry, and use re-usable straws! PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES Our seven workers filled three entire bags with recyclable plastic, aluminum and glass containers. After sorting the contents of those three bags, the winner and still champion is... plastic bottles. Two of the bags held plastic bottles, and the vast majority of those bottles were single-use plastic water bottles. Do you still drink water from plastic bottles? If so, could you please tell me why? What is it that makes these plastic bottles a part of your life? Do you belong to an organization or work at a business that provides water in plastic bottles? Can you tell me why? Are you planning an event this year and the purchase of flats of bottled water is in the budget? Can you explain why? I’m serious! I really want to know. Email me at and tell me. REMINDER: THE NEXT TRASH PICKUP WILL BE SATURDAY, MARCH 17, 2018. Dates in the future: April 14 and May 12. Feel free to pass these reports along to friends and invite them to join the clean-up brigade next month! We are always looking for new volunteers. LouiLoui


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