By Patricia Powers-Zermeño / ADOT Communications
What do you get when you add 35 retirees to 35 miles of roadway for 35 years?
You get Prescott Litter Lifters, an intrepid group making that part of northern Arizona beautiful since 1981 by picking up roadside litter.
Don Edick, the group's coordinator, said he got involved back then by picking up litter on Earth Day with his family.
As ADOT's Adopt a Highway
manager, I visited the Litter Lifters on a sunny August morning, when Don, Trudy, Sherry, Don and Lillian were picking up litter at the Downtown Depot Plaza.
When I asked why a group of retirees would choose to volunteer to pick up other people’s trash, Lillian Murphy said, "But where else can we spend time volunteering outdoors, breathing and moving?"
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In the first six months of 2016, the Litter Lifters picked up 572 bags of trash. At an average of 11 pounds a bag, that’s three tons of trash!
These days, members of the Litter Lifters are picking up fewer cans. Volunteer Don Hornby said that’s because people are recycling them. He says 85-90 percent of the stuff they pick up is plastic wrap and bottles.
The other 10-15 percent is the unexpected. That includes bowling balls, golf and tennis balls, an iPad and an iPhone. They’ve picked up forks and spoons, a mailbox, lots of hubcaps, a chess set, a fishing pole, bungee cords and much more.
Prescott’s motto is "Everybody’s Hometown" because most everyone who visits says it feels just like home. Just like your hometown, this one has a library. In August, the Litter Lifters collection was on display at the Betty Ritter Viewerie at the Prescott Public Library. Some of the items displayed are at right.
"The job they do is critical," Prescott Librarian Normalene Zeeman said. "People come to Prescott for the scenery, and if it’s trashy it reflects badly on all of us."
It seems the Prescott Litter Lifters are like most ADOT Adopt a Highway volunteers
: They love Arizona and want to see this state at its best.