We know you are itchin' to get outside, get muddy and make a difference. While we may not be able to host large-scale clean-ups right now, we can still make a difference...Trash Mob style! What is a trash mob you ask?! They are sort of like flash mobs, they just sort of magically appear! These are simply just smaller, individual style cleanups that collectively, really add up!
So grab some bags and gloves, and head outside by yourself or with your "pod" and clean up the litter along your favorite creek or even just in your neighborhood.
In Columbia, MO there are 15 creeks alone that all lead to the Missouri River. Imagine the impact if we all got out, individually, and picked up a little bit of litter all up and down the Missouri River watershed!
We are here to support your clean-up efforts by providing trash bags, gloves, advice and suggestions but we need a couple of things from you too:
- Make sure to take pictures of your accomplishments so we can share them with the world. Take a picture of your haul or ephemeral art piece inspired by the trash and post it on social media with the hashtags #riverrelief #trashmob #keepitclean or email them to [email protected]
- Reporting your litter clean-up efforts is essential. Reporting these numbers highlights your efforts and ensures funding for the Missouri Stream Team program. Please fill out the details of your trash mob here: bit.ly/trashmob-report. If you need help figuring out what watershed you are in, check out the resources below.
Sometimes a couple of kitchen trash bags will do the trick, sometimes you need something a bit more heavy-duty! Send an email to [email protected] and let us know the following:
- What area are you planning to clean-up and do you expect any tires or large overly large objects?
- What kind of supplies do you need? How many trash bags? How many pairs of gloves?
- If you would like us to mail you supplies, please include a shipping address
Getting rid of the trash you collected can sometimes be a challenge. The methods and how we are able to help vary greatly by location. Determine how trash will be disposed of before heading out. Tires are a beast in and of itself and should not go directly in a trash bin. Depending on where you live we may be able to help you out - contact us at [email protected] to talk about what's possible.
Here are a couple of other suggestions:
- If you have just a couple bags and are willing and able, securely tie the bags and leave it out on the curb for your regularly scheduled trash pickup - Contacting your local disposal service and giving them a heads up is always the safest bet.
- Contact solid waste officials in your area to discuss your options. Ask if they would be willing to donate their services
- Arrange to get the trash to your disposal site. If there are no waste haulers available, you will need to transport trash to a disposal site.
- Reach out to businesses along your clean-up route or nearby creek. A lot of times businesses are happy to help out by allowing you to throw away a couple bags of collected trash. Remember to be respectful and not overfill their bin.
- If you are cleaning up in the Columbia area, drop us a line at [email protected] and we would be happy to help you out.
- Report any hazardous materials to be dealt with to the Department of Natural Resources. Flag the site and mark it with GPS coordinates. Car batteries, jugs of oil or pesticides can be dangerous and should be disposed of separately.
Know Your Watershed
Knowing your watershed is important not only for reporting your trash numbers, but for knowing what creeks and subsequent waterways will be impacted by negative activities upstream and upland. Actions on land often impact the quality of water. Here are some interactive maps depending on where you live that can help you determine your watershed. These maps are best viewed on a desktop.
Columbia, MO/Boone County
Greater Kansas City Region
St. Louis Metro Area
- Wear the proper attire. Wear gloves at all times, a lifejacket if near or on the water, boots and pants.
- Stay aware of the members of your group. You must provide your own safety net out there.
- If you are working along a road, make sure to wear highly visible and reflective gear
- Pick a spot near your drop off point for a rally point. Bring the bagged trash there and center it next to heavy objects.
- Don’t try to move extremely heavy or hazardous material. Roll tires, appliances and barrels to remove mud before attempting to transport. Team up on heavy things. Report any hazardous materials to be dealt with to the Department of Natural Resources. Flag the site and mark it with GPS coordinates. Car batteries, jugs of oil or pesticides can be dangerous and should be disposed of separately.
- Watch for Poison Ivy, Stinging Nettles and other hurtful plants.
- Leave all wildlife alone. They are in their place and you are their guest.
- Drink more water. Then drink more water. Be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion in yourself and others.
- If someone is injured, follow first aid practices. Keep the injured person calm and seek medical assistance. Apply a compress to limit bleeding if necessary. Make sure to carry a first-aid kit.
Citizen Science: Mississippi River Plastic Pollution Initiative
Take it a step further, and become a part of the citizen science movement! March 2021 is the launch of the Mississippi River Plastic Pollution Initiative. Data is being gathered through mid-April to analyze and understand the state of plastic litter along the river starting in three cities - St. Paul, St. Louis & Baton Rouge using the Marine Debris Tracker app. Anyone can use the Marine Debris tracking app! Learn more, and consider teaming up with someone on a Trash Mob, where one person collects litter, while the other uses the app to track it. Or you can keep a paper tally and enter your data when you get home.
People don’t think that they have an impact, but you can make a difference! 80% of ocean plastics are land-based. Let’s find out how and where these plastics are making their way into our waterways. Once data is gathered, a report will be created to help create policy and to help businesses, communities and manufacturers make the necessary changes to help prevent plastic from getting into the river to begin with. This National Program will help extend awareness and create action. Help #BeatPlasticPollution
A Big Muddy thanks to the folks over at Missouri Stream Team who have some great clean-up resources that can be adapted to a small trash mob cleanups and provide us with the supplies.