The Highway Angels of St.Andrew’s met at 7 am this morning to clean up our adopted section of California Highway 85, near the Saratoga Avenue exit. This was my first time picking up trash along the freeway and, despite our very early start, it was fun and interesting. Since 1999, our church has participated in the Adopt a Highway program, sending out a volunteer crew with trashbags, hardhats, tongs, and yellow safety vests about once a month.
Most of what we picked up was paper (cups and food wrappers, cardboard) and plastic bags, plus bits of metal, glass, and plastic off of cars. There were very few recycleables and only two big items – an old rug and a cardboard box. We found one empty wallet and quite a few gift cards: 2 from Starbucks, one from Jamba Juice, and one from Powell’s Sweet Shoppe. I also found a library card, a dime and a marble but everything else was trash. I shared a road section with Bob who started the Highway Angels ministry, who said he once found a $100 bill – which he donated to St. Andrew’s. We left the trash bagged along the road for Caltrans to pick up next week.
While pulling plastic bags out of the bushes, I thought about how much cleaner the public roads are than when I was a kid. I remember on our cross-country drives at night, the highways back then were lined with cans and bottles reflecting in the headlights. The strong culture of recycle-reuse-reduce has eliminated most of that, in California at least.
Images Copyright 2013 by Katy Dickinson