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Two Leaders of Litter Cleanup to be Recognized by Town Council

05/31/2018

Do you ever wish you could make a "Citizen's Arrest" when you see someone throw trash out a car window? Tired of seeing our beautiful landscapes and roadsides cluttered with litter?

On Monday, the Mayor & Town Council will recognize two people who have taken action and inspired others in the battle against litter at the June 4 Clayton Town Council meeting, set for 6 p.m. at The Clayton Center. 

Matthew Lloyd is only 6 years old, but this Downtown Clayton resident and Cooper Academy student is showing no shyness in tackling this BIG issue! Matthew has inspired people in his neighborhood and community to pick up trash and beautify our Town. In just two hours one Saturday morning, he and his crew of volunteers filled more than 15 bags with trash near his school. Matthew’s efforts have even grabbed the attention Johnston County’s largest private employer and one of our most passionate corporate environmental stewards – Grifols! Next week, the global leader in plasma-derived medicines has invited Matthew to its Clayton plant to honor him for joining forces with Grifols in the fight against trash.

The Council will also recognize another crusader in this fight – Clayton resident and artist Jen Kehrer. She kick-started the #CleanUpClayton effort and it’s gaining HUGE momentum. Disgusted by the amount of litter on the roadsides of our community and disheartened that her community had become an eyesore, Kehrer took to inspiring neighbors to join her to tackle litter, one weekend at a time. Her before-and-after pictures following a clean-up are astounding and applause worthy! She’s showing how just a few people can make a difference, and her efforts are helping to change attitudes. 

“It is bad for the environment and for our reputation as a healthy, safe and clean place to live,” she writes on her popular Facebook group, where more than 150 people have joined the cause in just weeks. “We’re committed to cleaning up Clayton, North Carolina. #CleanUpClayton doesn't mind picking up the garbage, but hopes to inspire others by setting an example.”
 
Clayton is a beautiful place to live, work and play. To keep it that way takes work - cleaning the roads costs millions! The problem is three-fold: people throw trash out of car windows; trash is illegally dumped; and uncovered loads add debris along the roads. Town of Clayton & NCDOT crews work hard to keep things clean, but it is a never-ending battle against litter. That's where people like Matthew and Jen pitch in with their community pride!

The annual Spring Litter Sweep, encouraged by NCDOT, is something Clayton residents have taken part in for years. The Neighbors & Newcomers club had previously led the charge of trying to organize volunteers to get out in Clayton. They inspired school groups, scout troops and neighborhood HOAs to make this annual showing of community pride. The North Carolina Department of Transportation provided supplies – gloves, cool orange vests and bags – and the Town of Clayton collected the bags when the groups were done. But it always became evident that one weekend a year was simply NOT enough to tackle this ongoing and growing problem.

"Working together we can make a big difference in the way our town looks," said volunteer Judy Hoffman, who helped spearhead the effort when she first moved to Clayton. "We are trying to get other town civic and service organizations to also take up this cause." 

All of us can do our part. You don’t have to "formally" volunteer for litter efforts with a group - simply take a trash bag or two out to an area that bothers you, clean it up and put it in your own trash can.

Want to take your efforts to the next level? Learn about organizing a Litter Sweep by visiting this website or calling 1-800-331-5864. You pick the road and they'll help coordinate the rest! As you venture around Clayton, are you bothered by the excessive amount of litter? Here's your chance to do something about it.

Litter Sweep participation does not stop with cleanup events; motorists are encourage to participate in the NCDOT Swat-A-Litterbug program throughout the year. It's easy to promote clean roadsides by participating in the program - simply record the littering offense and report it through the Office of Beautification Swat-A-Litterbug website

By the way...you did know that...

Littering is illegal! You could be fined up to $2,000, get a point on your driver's license AND be sentenced to community service work! Fines can double upon a second conviction. So...throw it out and you could REALLY pay to pick it up later!

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