Wearing orange safety vests and armed with trash grabbers, 16 Pine Tree High School students set out Saturday on mission to help clean up Longview.
The students, who are members of the school’s Interact Club, along with several members of the Longview Greggton Rotary Club picked up trash on Hawkins Parkway as part of Green and Clean, a citywide cleanup and recycling event held by the city of Longview’s recycling department and Keep Longview Beautiful. The event drew about 700 volunteers who helped clean up the city.
“I love that the students come out. This gives them a chance to be part of something bigger than themselves,” Pine Tree teacher Cheryl Crafton said.
Green and Clean debuted this year as a revamped version of three former events — Longview Recycles Day, Trash Bash and Citywide Cleanup.
“We want to make things more cohesive,” said Kim Droege, executive director of Keep Longview Beautiful.
Green and Clean combines the three former events into one big event that will be held the second weekends of November and April at Lear Park, Droege said. In years past, locations for the events varied, and space also became an issue, she said.
“We ran out of room at our other locations. There is a lot more room to grow here at Lear Park,” said David Simmons, recycling coordinator for the city.
“This is a really good location, and I think it will really make things easier. We will always be at the same location on the same weekends in November and April. It will really help simplify things, and it will help us grow.”
A parking lot at Lear Park was transformed into stations for recycling various products. Each station had a sign in front of it saying what could be recycled there.
Such stations included plastic bags collected by Brookshire’s, eyeglass disposal collected by the Lion’s Club, ink cartridges, glass bottles, motor oil and filters, document destruction/shredding, tires, scrap metal collected by Habitat for Humanity and a couple of stations for mixed single stream recycling.
One of the most popular stations Saturday morning was for electronics recycling. A line of cars and trucks waited for volunteers to unload old TVs, computers, monitors, printers and other items from their vehicles.
“I think this is a great idea. It’s an opportunity for us to get rid of our stuff without putting it in the landfill,” said Carnes Alexander, who dropped off eight computers and nine computer accessories, such as printers, on behalf of Alpine Church of Christ.
The 700 volunteers spread out across the city at parks, schools and roads.
“This event will grow each time we have it,” Droege said.
For the Pine Tree students who worked in conjunction with the Longview Greggton Rotary Club, the day provided an opportunity for them to exemplify the Interact Club’s philosophy of “service above self.” The students collected four bags of trash and reported picking up everything from glass bottles and cigarettes to apples and hubcaps.
“It was fun, and we were helping out at the same time,” junior Karen Rodriguez said.
“I really liked helping out the community,” junior Sandra Bautista added.