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Adopt-a-Highway Cleanup

Past Sessions
Saturday, March 21, 2020 25 Adar 5780 - 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Saturday, February 15, 2020 20 Sh'vat 5780 - 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Saturday, December 14, 2019 16 Kislev 5780 - 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Join TEE members Loui Tucker & Sabine Zappe as they lead volunteers to clean up areas of the 280 corridor between Saratoga and Meridian each month.  When there is time, the group also cleans up the Alameda ramps near TEE.  It is an amazingly, satisfying experience to see a section of freeway transform to the way it used to be - clean!  Loui & Sabine lead the group only to safe areas of the freeway.  The experience is open to anyone 16 and up.  Expect to go out for pizza afterwards!

If you’re interested in participating in the next trash pickup, please contact Loui at
Mark your calendar: Saturday, March 21, 2020 is the next Adopt-A-Highway Litter Pickup on Highway 280. 

Future Dates: April 18 and May 9.

Ever wonder just what is found on an adopt-the-highway clean-up?  Check out Loui's monthly summary from the last clean up event):


Our Valentine's Day gift  to Highway 280 - 34 bags of trash removed
Date: Saturday, February 15, 2020
Location: Highway 280 NB between Meridian Avenue and Saratoga Avenue, plus the San Jose City College exit from Highway 280 SB, plus The Alameda exit from Highway 880 NB.
Time: Three hours – 9:30 am -12:30 pm
Participants: 9 full-time volunteers. Sabine and I were joined by veteran volunteers Pam, Jerry, Crista and Richard, plus three first-timers: Joe, Sharon and Iris (details below)
What we collected: 34 total bags, 4 of which were full of recyclable aluminum cans, glass bottles and plastic bottles. When the 4 bags were sorted, I wound up with almost 3 bags full of plastic water bottles.
Any cash? Just a dime found by Pam, who also found another 2 reais Brazilian bill worth about 50¢ (she found one last month too).

Oddities along with the trash (

    ▸    An empty wallet
    ▸    Two bungee cords
    ▸    A large Peruvian flag        
    ▸    A plaster skull, smashed
    ▸    A fancy plastic tablecloth
    ▸    A plastic light switch cover
    ▸    An orange and a tangerine
    ▸    A roll of black electricians tape
    ▸    Business checks for Prepared Staffing, LLC
    ▸    A half-dozen cards (expired Mexican drivers license, bank cards)
    ▸    Two jerseys, one for a child and one for a teen (washed and donated)
    ▸    Some odd yellow plastic disks. They were no markings on them and none of the crew could figure out what they were.  If you look at the photo (link above) and you know what they are, please tell me!

Iris and Sharon are sisters who volunteered for their first trash pickup. They both attend one of my dance classes. Iris works near The Alameda and Highway 880 in San Jose and takes The Alameda exit every day to get to work. She gets to watch the litter pile up at this exit. She was also aware that I manage an Adopt-A-Highway brigade that cleans this area a couple of times a year, when the crew is large enough and we have enough time. This month she got to personally do something about the trash on that exit. She talked her sister into joining her. In addition to helping clear 12 (!) bags of trash from The Alameda exit, they also helped fill the six bags that were cleared from the San Jose City College exit from Highway 280 SB. Good job, my friends!

JOE FROM STANFORD                
Joe first contacted me over a year ago about our litter pickups, and we talked on the phone and exchanged emails on the subject of litter.  He was working on a project at Stanford University. He had planned to come to one of the trash pickups last spring, but we were rained out. Then the paper turned into a video and, well, things got complicated.  After not hearing from Joe for several months, he contacted me about working a crew.

During the pickup Joe talked to the other volunteers, took a lot of notes and photos, and filled his share of bags.  Joe also commented during our after-pickup lunch (I noticed it too) that there were very few straws among the litter.  I remember the same thing happened with single-use plastic bags.  When they stopped handing them out at the grocery stores, we went from finding hundreds to a handful in a matter of months.  What a concept: if you don't offer them to people, they can't throw them away.  Now, about those plastic water bottles....

Even if a volunteer never returns to work on a crew again, I’m happy to have them the one time they attend. Every volunteer means 3-5 bags of trash get filled.  Every volunteer goes home to family and friends and to work where there are co-workers – who all hear about the adventures picking up litter. Sometime the people hearing the stories are so intrigued (Sounds interesting! I could do that! If he could do, I can do it! I’ve got to at least try it once...) that they contact me about joining a crew. Sometimes those people wind up being one of our dependable, I-will-be-there-every-month volunteers.  You just never know.

I get so angry when I see people loading flats of plastic water bottles into their cars.  How have they missed all the messages about avoiding plastic?  How have they not seen the photos and videos of plastic-clogged waterways?  I am tempted to print yellow stickers that read “Are you crazy? Why are you buying water in plastic bottles? Haven’t you heard what plastic is doing to the environment? Just stop it!” I want to sneak into grocery stores and slap the stickers on flats of water bottles. I’d probably get caught on the security cameras.  Sigh!  A girl can dream!

REMINDER: THE NEXT TRASH PICKUP WILL BE SATURDAY, March 21, 2020. Future dates: April 18 and May 9.

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.

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