THE TRASH OF FAIRBANKS
By Judy Jessee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A STUDY ON TRASH

Certainly not a scientific study! But a study nonetheless. I am always on the lookout for a good photo opportunity, but come April, it seems the only thing to take photos of in Fairbanks is trash. It’s litterally everywhere. There is a period between break-up and cleaning day when trash is on every corner, in every parking lot, on every sidewalk. It isn’t realistic or efficient to pick this trash up while there is slush, ice, and cold water everywhere we walk and drive. So between April and early May there is bound to be trash everywhere, including on the heaps of snow that we made in our mid-winter haste to be able to travel around in our world.

There are many ways trash gets distributed and though humans are the ones inevitably responsible, there are little helpers such as ravens who spread our garbage around. I learned a lot in my search for unique trash items. At times, I felt like I was retracing the steps of a Milwaukee’s Best Ice madman who considers the world his trash can! Milwaukee’s Best Ice was by far the brand I most commonly saw. It made me think that perhaps in my search for trash I was getting a pretty decent cross-section of the most popular disposable products purchased in Fairbanks. At least the ones most used by littering perpetrators and negligent trash-movers and shakers.

One type of item that was so prolific that I can’t even start to record its impact is the disposable “Big Gulp” type of cup, the plastic kind with a lid and straw that comes from fast food restaurants and gas stations that enable a person to drink a large volume of fountain mixtures at a time. And in general, disposable beverage containers were the most common trash item that I saw, be it plastic, glass, Styrofoam, or aluminum. Green Mountain Dew bottles are everywhere. And Sunkist is much more popular than I thought!


But what it comes down to is…do you ever toss a cigarette out your car window or on the grass before walking into a building? Do you drive down the road with trash flying out of your truck?
I think that most people I know take responsibility for their own trash. I certainly don’t litter, and my friends and family don’t. But there are some people out there who are not taking responsibility for the trash they create!

Clean-up Day is the day we make up for their irresponsibility and I will do it for the betterment of my city, even if I know those same people will dirty it again next year. At least I will know I did my part and can say that I care about Fairbanks and took action to make it a better place to live. Please do the same!

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