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“Talking Trash”

 

March 02, 2021

Garden Club of Allegheny County Tackles a Pervasive Problem

The Garden Club of Allegheny County (GCAC), is “Talking Trash” to Pittsburgh, PA organizations that have the power to solve the problems caused by the profusion of consumables that pollute land and water. In partnership with Allegheny CleanWays (AC) , eighteen members of GCAC sorted, measured, and catalogued some 6,900 pounds of trash collected from several riverfront and illegal dumpsites. Allegheny CleanWays is using the audit findings to educate the public, and to put pressure on companies, government entities, and NGO’s to make positive environmental changes. In addition, GCAC backed-up its labor with a $10,000 grant to Allegheny CleanWays.

In a parking lot on a crisp fall day, GCAC volunteers hand-sorted the contents of a dumpster and dozens of trash bags of paper, food wrapping, textiles, furniture scraps, and other discarded items—more than 11,000 separate pieces of trash—much of it rusty, sharp, or toxic. AC staff then weighed and analyzed the trash. This audit was the first of its kind in the Pittsburgh area.

Not surprisingly, single-use plastics (bottles, straws, cups, and other fast-food debris), represented two-thirds of the items collected. Looking specifically at the riverfronts, single-use plastics represented ninety percent of the total. Perhaps even more disturbing than the trash is the widespread infiltration of the plastic particles into soil and water. Allegheny CleanWays is adding the Pittsburgh findings into international databases to support global plastic minimization. Locally, AC is involved in educational and public relations programs and supports the implementation of projects such as storm drain “gratekeepers” and in-river trash collection devices.

Garden Club of Allegheny County members will continue to be active with Trash Audit and other conservation programs in its community. As the GCAC project leader says: “As challenging as the trash audit was, now being able to talk specifics about the trash was worth the effort!”

 

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The GCA’s 2021 National Affairs & Legislation Conference
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Scenic America Celebrates Announcement
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February 19, 2021


Climate Change Solutions
The Focus of the GCA’s Virtual NAL 2021
February 18, 2021

 

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