During the week of May 4-11, South Plainfield citizens came together to welcome spring by giving the Borough a good spring cleaning during the 33rd annual Volunteer Litter Cleanup Week.
This year, more than 190 volunteers showed up on Saturday, May 4 to remove accumulated litter and trash from the Borough’s roadsides, parks, open spaces and municipal facilities. Scout troops, families, students, non-profit organizations; businesses, politicians – all sectors of the Borough were represented. By the end of the week, reports had been turned in by 208 volunteers who filled 140 orange trash bags with litter. They cleaned 8 miles of roadside and 81 acres of parks and woods at 31 locations. The Department of Public Works collected the bags from all over town and took them to the transfer station for disposal, where they weighed in at 1.02 tons, slightly less than last year.
New this year was the unprecedented turnout from the High School and Middle School. Students in the High School Environmental Club organized themselves into groups and took on some of our most challenging spots, including Stelton Road. They insisted on that location, which we usually avoid because of the heavy traffic. Their research had revealed that the area near I287 was so heavily littered you could see it in satellite imagery. The National Honor Society again tackled the overpass on Park Avenue, another, hazardous, heavily littered area. Their post-cleanup photograph won the #Trashtag #LitterFreeSP contest for the best post-cleanup photo, sponsored by the We Are South Plainfield Facebook group.
The Most Unusual Piece of Litter Contest (KC’s Corner donated a $25 gift certificate as the prize) was a topic of lively discussion at the Pickup Picnic but could not be decided then because Volunteer Litter Cleanup Week would not end until the following Saturday. The judges’ final decision gave the prize to the Environmental Science Club group that worked at the Cedarbrook Road bridge: they found, among other curious items, a windmill. Many other prizes were handed out at the environmental quiz Prize Wheel, and tree saplings were raffled off at the end of the picnic. Other Picnic features included a presentation of the history of litter, created specially for the occasion by educator Dave Street. Environmental Commission members and the Mayor and Council served pizza, sandwiches and soda to the hungry workers. Papa John’s donated some of the pizza and Charlie and Debbie Kurland of Home Town Heros donated two platters of sandwiches.
Groups that participated in Cleanup Week: Adopt-A-Spotters included the South Plainfield Business Association, South Plainfield Lions Club, and Stillman Photography Services. Scouts included Girl Scout Troops 65136, 65142, 65199 and 65410 and Boy Scout Troop 309. Non-profits and other organizations included the South Plainfield Republican Organization and the South Plainfield Environmental Commission. From the educational sector, we had the High School National Honor Society, the Lacrosse Team and the Environmental Science Club, as well as the South Plainfield Middle School environmental science class and a group from St. John the Apostle School in Clark. Then there were the fifteen or so unaffiliated residents who came out during a spring week to help keep their community a beautiful place to live.