Mansfield Volunteers Collect A Mountain of Trash

Nancy Wall stands before Mansfield’s mountain of trash.

April 2017 – Every spring for the past 10 years, volunteers in Mansfield have turned out in droves to give the town a thorough spring-cleaning.

This year was no different, as more than 500 volunteers cleaned up litter and debris during the 10th annual Great American Cleanup of Mansfield.

“The community pride and community spirit here in Mansfield is truly inspiring,” said Neil Rhein of Keep Mansfield Beautiful, which organizes the annual event. “The support we get from community groups, such as girl scouts, boy scouts, area churches, and local businesses is what makes this event so successful.”

The tangible results of volunteers’ efforts were on display at Town Hall over the weekend of April 29. A huge pile of trash and recycling bags, along with tires, bicycles, and other debris confirmed that, despite 10 years of effort, litter remains a problem in Mansfield and in communities across the state. In all, volunteers collected 2.09tons of trash and debris, plus about a half-ton of recyclables.

“When you consider that we just had a town cleanup last November and the fact that we have been doing this event for 10 years, it’s discouraging to see how much new litter accumulates each year,” said Rhein. “But on the positive side, thanks to these efforts, Mansfield has got to be one of the cleanest communities in the entire state.”

During the post-cleanup celebration at the Xfinity Center, volunteers were asked to list the most commonly littered items they collected. Among the leaders were plastic miniature alcohol bottles, otherwise known as “nips.” Other top contenders were plastic and Styrofoam coffee cups, beer bottles and cans, plastic bags, and cigarette butts.

As part of its efforts to curtail littering behavior, Keep Mansfield Beautiful will soon be mounting a public education campaign that will seek to discourage drivers from tossing litter from their cars. The campaign will include a series of temporary anti-litter signs in highly visible locations around Mansfield.

Mansfield’s annual cleanup is part of the Great Massachusetts Litter Cleanup that is led by Keep Massachusetts Beautiful, a state-level affiliate of Keep America Beautiful. Other local communities, including North Attleboro, Attleboro, Foxboro, Easton, and Norton have also launched annual litter cleanups in recent years.

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