Volunteers picking up trash along highways save state $6 million annually
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Volunteers helping with the Adopt a Highway program pick up 26,000 tons of litter per year, saving the state an estimated $6 million annually, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
The Adopt a Highway program currently is staffed by more than 49,000 volunteers from the public who are helping to clean up 11,000 miles of Minnesota’s highways.
“They volunteer because they want to keep Minnesota highways beautiful and they take pride in what they do,” said Ernest Lloyd, state Adopt a Highway program administrator. “Because of their contributions, our crews can spend more time on highway improvement and safety projects.”
Even with these great efforts, MnDOT is looking for more volunteers to help with this public service campaign, Lloyd said.
To become part of the program, the volunteer groups agree to:
- Adopt a highway for a minimum of two years
- Select a segment of highway approximately two miles in length
- Pick up litter on both sides of the highway
- Pick up litter as often as needed from spring through fall, usually two to three times
MnDOT provides safety vests for each volunteer and trash bags for cleanup events. The high-visibility color and reflective tape help make litter crews more visible to passing motorists.
MnDOT crews pick up the filled bags and large, heavy or hazardous items from the roadside after the group completes its cleanup. State workers, not volunteers, are responsible for litter pickup along the interstate.
Those interested in adopting a highway can visit: www.dot.state.mn.us/adopt/contacts.html to find out who to contact in their area.