A record number of volunteers collected more than 1,400 pounds of litter and roadside garbage during Saturday’s Don’t Mess with Texas Trash-Off.
“It was so amazing,” said Silvia Rhoads, executive director of Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful. “This year there were 102 people. They collected 1,400 pounds of trash including eight tires, some office furniture and metal, which we recycled along with the tires.”
Volunteers gathered almost three times the 480 pounds of litter collected last year by 86 people, Rhoads said.
“It was so great to see that many people come out that care,” Rhoads said. “You just kind of feed off of that giving spirt.”
Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful organizes the litter collection event every year to coincide with a statewide effort that involves more than 87,000 volunteers on a single day of litter pickup.
In Cove, volunteers dedicated about three hours in four areas: Avenue D, an area near Georgetown Road, a portion of Farm-to-Market 3046 near Martin Walker and U.S. Highway 190 across from the Walmart store.
“I want to get the trash off the side of the streets, because it is unsightly,” said Erika Poppel, who cleaned up litter along Avenue D. “It feels good to volunteer. It is something nice that you get to do with the all the people that are in the community.”
Poppel has participated in the Texas Trash Off for three years to help beautify Cove. She recently joined Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful as a board member because of the cleanup event.
“I had to think of the future,” she said. “We only have one Earth and with all this litter, the Earth is not going to last long. I have a grandson I have to think about now.”
Among the items picked up by volunteers were underwear, an office chair, a new shower caddy, pieces of plywood and money.
“Last year we had half of a motor,” Poppel said. “You find some unusual stuff and you really think, why?”
KCCB participates in other litter events throughout the year.
It also conducts several educational events, including an annual EcoHarvest Festival.