Cans, bottles, pillows, couches, televisions, computers, you name it: it’s probably been dumped somewhere on the UNH campus. In the back of the woods or right along the road, trash roams and piles on the weary ground, and a group of students have recently begun to pick it up.
Last week, the UNH Woods clean-up Crew started its initiative to pick up trash around campus. Whether it is behind Adams Tower or Christensen Hall, the group of students, led by president of the group Emily Sherman and vice president Samantha Maniatty, are picking up what is left behind.
“We thought a woods cleanup crew would be a great idea and make a positive difference around our community,” noted Sherman.
The two freshmen, Sherman and Maniatty, first realized the full scale of trash on campus when they started cleaning up the woods behind Christensen Hall. Their first clean finished up after a few hours and ended with seven full bags of trash.
“We love being outside. We’d go out for walks and we’d see all of the trash and it was everywhere in the woods and were disgusted by it so we got the idea to just start picking it up. We started doing it on our own and then we asked, why not start our own club?” Maniatty said.
Trash is not only an eye sore, but can be environmentally dangerous. In the environment, much of the trash thrown away takes a long time to decompose. Plastic bags take 10-20 years, aluminum cans take 50 years, and glass bottles last for an astonishing one million years. According to National Geographic, 5.25 trillion pieces of trash are currently floating in the ocean. One of the most common pieces of trash found is fast food litter.
Dunkin Donuts and Aroma Joe’s cups were abundant in the latest cleanup effort taken by the UNH group.
Phi Mu Delta also joined In with trash cleanup. There were about eight members of the fraternity who partnered with the UNH Woods clean-up Crew, including senior Justin Sherman who said, “It’s something simple people can do. So why not?”
Ideas of what to do with the trash ranges from charity to profit. Member Caitriona Rafferty pitched an idea about collecting pull tabs from cans and donating them to Project Sunshine, which is a UNH group that organizes visits to children in hospitals. The cleanup crew is also looking to cash in on cans and bottles in Maine so they can pay for member t-shirts.
Sherman does think UNH could do more to provide trash bins for students, but also frets with the laziness in throwing away trash on the ground. She hopes her group will change that. “If people see others picking up trash around campus, it will make them think twice before throwing something on the ground. That’s what we hope is the message. We hope people get an idea that throwing your trash in an actual trash bin is better than throwing it on the ground.”