Many thanks to Trash Crush volunteers

Many thanks to Trash Crush volunteers

Thanks to our awesome volunteers and sponsors, our third annual Trash Crush, in partnership with CDOT’s Adopt-A-Highway program, was a success and a lot of fun was had by all. We literally crushed it on the morning of June 1, with 12 hearty volunteers filling about 20 oversized CDOT bags of trash from along four local roadways. This year we diverted recyclables into separate bags. In addition to cleaning up Highway 82 east of town to Difficult Campground, we cleaned up the first few miles from the roundabout up Castle Creek Road, Maroon Creek Road and Highway 82 to Buttermilk.

It’s always alarming to witness the type and amount of litter along all the roadways as we remove it. One can’t help but think about its story; how it got there. Typically, it comes down to carelessness or recklessness. Littering is a disease that can take over and kill Mother Earth like a cancer. The good news is that we can all be part of the cure through education and effort.

We’d like to sincerely thank our small but devoted group of environmentally-minded volunteers, who not only had the chance to nurture the very nature we live here to enjoy, but also the took the opportunity to learn more about the problem of littering and more importantly solutions like trying to prevent litter and beginning with through education. We also raised awareness about how easy — and even fun — it is to pick up litter. The folks who litter do not have ownership of our lands, as they don’t respect them. We have ownership and can take pride when we care for our pristine backyard. We’d like to acknowledge and thank our amazing Trash Crush volunteers Greg Poschman, Dan Perlman, Ella Lougeay, Chris Lougeay, Lucia Jayne, Sallie Bernard, Ned Sullivan, John Phillips, Craton Burkholder and Ellyn Craven for their time and effort and for spreading of a valuable message. We’d also like to thank Samantha Johnson and her staff at The Aspen Times, and Duncan Clauss and his staff at Aspen Brewing Co. for sponsoring our event, including helping spread the word and hosting a light lunch and frosty beverages to follow. We awarded our first “Trashy Awards,” with special prizes donated by Pitkin County Landfill, during lunch. We’d like to thank Cathy Hall and Pitkin County Landfill for donating their state-of-the-art re-usable beverage containers and bamboo silverware for our volunteers. Special thanks go to Nick Coates, who couldn’t help us clean the roads due to his blindness, but wrote a check to support our group.

It was interesting to note the demographics of this year’s volunteers. We generally had more mature volunteers, with only a few under 40 years old and no volunteers under 30 years old. We’ve seen these demographics trending. We recognize most locals had to work on a Friday morning. We also know many (thanks so much for your messages) pick up litter on their own. But, this is food for thought, especially for the younger crowd who seems to really enjoy recreating in nature. We also “re-create” when we give something back to nature.

In just a few hours, we were able to make a positive difference. Locals and visitors who appreciate our area will now enjoy it even more. We will keep the community in the loop for our next Trash Crush event. Even if we all just picked up just one piece of litter each day, it would make a big difference. Try it. It’s fun and addictive!

Erik Skarvan and Todd Shaver

Co-organizers, Trash Crush, Aspen