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4 Surprising Benefits from Volunteering & Cleaning up
Philly

4 Surprising Benefits from Volunteering & Cleaning up

philly spring cleanup dayThe Streets Department once again held the Philly Spring Cleanup Day this past April.

I must admit, I wasn’t as enthused as I was last year. The sixth annual city-wide collaboration returned to our previous hosting site at 8th & Poplar, and we had a few hiccups along the way: a few less participants as last year, a technical glitch that missed our site at the pickup center, and a forgotten printed form.

Our cleanup team worked from 9 to 2, picking up everything from used water bottles to sweeping cigarette butts in the masses. One of our volunteers, the lovely Jessica, even joked that the Hurricanes 40s must have been pretty good since there were so many bottles lying around the field. As I looked around, I realized that of the volunteers, I had only known two or three of them one year ago. Between all of these faces I had met through a common sustainable passion within the last 6-8 months: ranging from Meetup, plastic bag efforts, Philadelphia Streets Department (looks like Phil Bresee is keeping his word) and an intern participated.

Although the Streets Department hosts the Philly Spring Cleanup day annually, you don’t have to wait until April to participate. What are some of the other reasons you should start helping out the community?

4 Surprising Benefits of Cleaning Up Philly (Year-round):

  1. Defy stereotypes. As we were getting down to business, three middle-aged people walked by and exclaimed “They’re wasting their time… Cleaning up only for the place to get trashed again.” Although this isn’t an exclusive opinion, this thinking keeps us stuck.
  2. Good deeds are contagious. As we were picking up trash, a man who barely spoke English was watching us. Eventually, he started helping. He mentioned how it was something that we all should do.
  3. It adds up. This past Philly Spring Cleanup day, 13,198 volunteers participated to clean up Philadelphia streets, parks & neighborhoods. They logged 65,990 service hours, collecting 1,014,540 pounds of trash. I’ll repeat: Over 1 million pounds of trash! If you pick up a few things, it will just add onto that number.
  4. Everyone’s doing it. OK, not everyone. But with awesome local organizations like United by Blue’s water cleanups, there’s many local opportunities to help cleanup our parks and waterways.

Readers, have you participated in a cleanup day recently? What was your experience like?

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

1 thought on “4 Surprising Benefits from Volunteering & Cleaning up

  1. I participated two years ago in my neighborhood (Wash. West) and went great. Last year, I was all set to volunteer and then two days before the event, the group leader canceled our neighborhood’s cleanup. Why? There weren’t “enough” people. This is so crazy and discouraging. Even if 3 people were out there, something would have gotten done. This year I wanted to help out but I was out of town on cleanup day. I wish we could one every month, honestly. The rental buildings in my neighborhood are clearly full of tenants who don’t give a crap what the outside of their buildings look like. Spruce Street is the most disgusting I’ve ever seen it. A real shame. Honestly, why can’t the city find some money to hire street cleaners? Give people jobs? The people of Philadelphia clearly do not care to keep the city clean themselves…

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