Downtown event to feature talks about controlling trash

September 27, 2018

Sneed Middle School Students Wednesday morning work on a mural that will be on display at Florence After Five Friday as part of a Clemson Extension and Keep Florence Beautiful exhibit to help raise residents' awareness of trash and how they can reduce their output and help the environment.

FLORENCE – Clemson Extension and Keep Florence Beautiful representatives will be at Florence After Five on Friday evening to talk about trash and what people can do to generate less of it.

“The goal is to raise awareness among children and adults about the amount of trash we produce on a daily basis,” said Sarah Rogers, the Clemson Extension agent assigned to water-quality issues. “I think a lot of people don’t think about their trash once they put it in their trash bin.

“It’s just trying to bring that awareness and make people more conscious about the decisions they make.”

Plastics are one of the biggest problems and among the ones easiest to solve, Rogers said.

“Trash, especially plastic, is a big problem once it enters our waterways,” Rogers said. “It enters our waterways through various outlets, mainly people littering or not properly bagging their trash and down storm drains, which lead directly to our waterways.”

Once plastics make it into the waterways, they’re going to wind up in the ocean, she said.

Plastic, as it breaks down, releases toxic chemicals into the ecosystem, and those chemicals work their way back up the food chain to humans, she said.

“The biggest thing is swap out your disposables for reusables,” Rogers said. “The average American uses about 12 bags per grocery trip. Those are really pervasive, they’re light weight and fly out of trucks and cars.”

Rogers said that people can move to reusable grocery bags, coffee cups and water bottles to make a big dent in plastic trash.

“You can fit more in a bag, make fewer trips and you’re not stockpiling bags under your sink,” Rogers said. “Look for package-free vegetables. Try to avoid the stuff wrapped in plastic that you’ll throw in the trash.

“It’s a crazy concept that we’re using a material that lasts basically forever as a disposable item.”

At the booth there will be giveaways, interactive games and trash trivia. There also will be Sneed Middle School students who have put together a bottle cap mural. They will talk about their stance against pollution, Rogers said.

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