The Litter Gitter is a program of Matanzas Riverkeeper that takes members of our community out on the river to remove trash from our waterways and to learn about the issues surrounding marine debris and litter. The namesake of the program is the Litter Gitter II: a bright yellow, 24- foot Carolina skiff, specially equipped for removing large volumes of debris. Based in St. Augustine, Florida, the Litter Gitter program works to ensure that our local waterways stay clean and healthy while giving volunteers an opportunity to get their hands dirty and to do their part.
Last year, we hosted 32 Litter Gitter cleanups with 286 volunteers to remove almost 10,000 pounds of trash and debris from St. Johns & Flagler County waterways. A question that we often hear is “So what do you do with all that trash?”
One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure
Anything that can be repurposed or recycled – is. Local artists and residents will often take interesting pieces that we find for decoration or art projects. Lumber that has been washed into the marsh from past hurricanes is great for reclaimed driftwood walls or yard decorations.
Unfortunately, not everything that we find on the Litter Gitter is salvageable. A lot of the trash is too degraded due to sun exposure, wave action, or water rot to be reused or even recycled. That leaves us with a lot of trash that needs to go to the landfill. What most folks don’t realize is that disposing of garbage can be very expensive. That is where awesome community partners, like Waste Pro, come in. Since 2019 Waste Pro has provided and serviced a dumpster specifically for the trash that we remove from our local waterways on the Litter Gitter. After spending a couple of hours in the sun, trudging through oyster muck to pick up trash, having a convenient place to dispose of the debris is a huge help. Waste Pro provides this service at no cost to us, saving us money to reinvest in the Litter Gitter program (like for unexpected trailer repairs).
A BIG thank you to the folks at Waste Pro for helping us to keep our local waterways clean and beautiful! You can find out more about Waste Pro’s sustainability efforts on their website: https://www.wasteprousa.com/sustainability/.