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Concord launches volunteer program for trash pickup

When Herbert Leisy walks along Old Loudon Road, he notices a lot of litter. This spring, he decided to do something about it. Ten 30-gallon trash bags later, he contacted city officials to ask for help keeping the area clean.

The result: The blue bag program. Residents who volunteer to collect litter will receive blue bags from the city.

“We’ll give them bags, they’ll go out and do the work and we’ll follow up with picking up the bags,” said Phil Bilodeau, deputy director of the Concord General Services Department.

With the program, volunteers will not have to pay for their own purple pay-as-you-throw bags to clean up litter. (The city’s pay-as-you-throw bags cost $1 per 15-gallon bag and $2 per 30-gallon bag.) General services will provide the blue bags at no charge to residents, and coordinate where they will go to clean up the litter.

For Leisy, this is an important step toward reducing litter in his neighborhood.

“Litter seems to regularly accumulate along the side of the road from what I would call drive-bys,” or people throwing trash out the window, he said.

He also found collections of beer cans, other trash and two old tires in the nearby woods. Leisy spent a few weeks doing his own cleanup around Old Loudon Road.

“I got involved and then one thing led to another, and then I really decided to see what I could do to clear out the whole area there and so forth,” he said.

Leisy’s letter to the city, which detailed the trash he found in the area, was referred to the General Services Department. The department began a pilot program asking volunteers to clean up littered areas with the blue bags.

Bilodeau said his department already receives calls from Boy Scout troops and other groups that are looking to volunteer and help clean up parts of the city.

“We don’t have the staff or the wherewithal or the organization that would go out and do litter patrol, but we occasionally get calls from volunteer groups that say, ‘Oh, we want to go and clean up the city.’ ”

Now, those groups may be directed to the blue bag program and sent out to a specific area in the city, such as Old Loudon Road.

The solid waste advisory committee voted in June to proceed with the blue bag program, and General Services Director Chip Chesley wrote about it in a report sent to the mayor and city council this month.

Groups interested in collecting litter through the blue bag program can contact the Concord General Services Department at 228-2737.

(Laura McCrystal can be reached at 369-3312 or
lmccrystal@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @lmccrystal.)

Just walk the road once every couple of months and throw it out like the rest of us.

What a very cool idea! What do we do when people leave furniture and other items that they leave on the side of the road (on Sewalls Falls Rd...before the bridge...that dirt parking lot...people leave couches, microwaves, etc)? I've also seen entire apartment contents on Second St, by the trails. It amazes me how people can be such pigs. I've found McDonald's wrappers in my yard and have almost run over a beer bottle. Kudos to Herbert!

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