Thursday, June 24, 2010

Litter picking is an All Season Sport - The Importance of a Green and Clean Main Street. South Burlington, Vermont

Successful downtowns are built on many steps, from unique character like Burlington's bricked pedestrian-only Church Street, to Brattleboro's diverse mix of eateries and local shops. After all the brick and mortar is in, businesses established, trees and flowers planted, maintenance is required.

Keeping the downtown litter free is no small part of providing pleasurable aesthetics as part of the downtown community experience. South Burlington might consider following Burlington, Brattleboro and other Vermont towns in placing trash receptacles along the South Burlington downtown district(s) and arrange to have them serviced at regular intervals. As Brattleboro's web site says, “The commercial district is a reflection of community image, pride, prosperity, and level of investment-critical factors in business retention and recruitment efforts.” Our South Burlington “Main Street” and all our streets can be kept Green and Clean to help “reinforce our intangible sense of community” as Brattleboro proclaims of its' Main Street.

How can we meet and support the South Burlington community's changing cultural and public policy expectations on litter- a community intolerant of littering behavior? In addition, how can businesses as well as individuals be leaders in promoting an attitude that it is not acceptable to walk past litter?

One way is to establish public trash receptacles and service at high traffic transition points where there is consistent litter accumulation. Two of the reasons people litter on the public domain are:

• Litter has already accumulated. The more litter present the more people are inclined to litter.

• Number, placement and appearance of disposal containers at or near the site is inadequate.

Most folks do not want to litter. By providing servicing of receptacles at these,
transition points a local trash haulers image could be united with the beautification of South Burlington's urban environment.

The South Burlington city manager has expressed interest in this idea and suggested the city might consider a request to purchase a limited number of trash receptacles (with grates that prevent wholesale dumping of household trash into them), provided a company would sign up for servicing the containers without charge to the City. If a trial run proved successful, we could consider expanding the program coverage by soliciting local businesses support (paying for cost of servicing) at their locations.

Please take a moment to ask your local trash hauler to consider this trial program as a way to enhance South Burlington's urban environment and community through in-kind servicing of public trash receptacles. I can arrange for a meeting with the South Burlington city manager and a trash hauler representative and myself to work out the detailed application / agreement.