“Trash Mob” Tackles Baltimore’s Litter Epidemic — on Their Lunch Breaks

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Baltimore has its fair share of vacant lots — and for whatever topographical reason, vacant lots seem to be trash magnets. This kind of litter makes our city look gross, but it’s also one of those small problems that’s so pervasive it feels completely insurmountable. Enter Baltimore’s Zero Litter, a group that has proved that you can clean up a vacant lot with nothing more than a few friends and a half-hour of your lunch break.

You’ve heard of flash mobs; Zero Litter is calling this a “trash mob,” in which a dozen or so (20, in this case) volunteers armed with gloves, trash grabbers, and bags to clean out a vacant lot. (The project was done in conjunction with Baltimore Trash Talk, another rad group working to cut down on the city’s litter problem.) This particular specimen was located at the corner of Bauernschmidt and North Washington Street in the Broadway East neighborhood; despite being “absolutely chock full of litter,” it took the trash mob only half an hour to make it spick and span. Never before has cleaning up seemed so fun. (Well, except for Hampden’s “Get Trashed” which combines trash pickup with bar hopping.)

Zero Litter has plans that are way more ambitious than simply picking up trash (they want the City Council to ban plastic bags, tax junk food, and institute a bottle deposit program, among other things). They’re also hoping to spur twice-weekly litter pickups around town. If you’re interested in getting involved (or have a cleanup site to suggest), get in touch with the group via its Facebook page or donate to its fundraising campaign here.

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