Committee briefed on impact of area anti-litter campaign

By Derik Vanderford dvanderford@civitasmedia.com

March 8, 2014

UNION COUNTY — A local committee continues to move forward in cleaning up Union County.

Numerous city and county officials, town mayors and concerned citizens met with the Union County Tourism Commission Clean Up Committee on Wednesday afternoon.

Guest speakers included Marilyn Easter of Laurens County and Sarah Lyles of Palmetto Pride.

Easter showed slides of the “One Community at a Time” campaign in Laurens County, which includes various communities hosting quarterly clean-up days to get rid of litter. Easter said a public trolley in Laurens even takes people to their clean-up sites, and block parties are held afterward with food, homemade ice cream and entertainment.

“You never know what kind of impact you’re going to make,” Easter said.

Since its inception, the program in Laurens has picked up over 50 tons of litter.

Easter also said it is important to educate children about the anti-litter campaign.

“It’s amazing that these senior groups cover a number of miles picking up trash, but we would like to see more young people out there,” Easter said. “That’s why we need the education.”

Easter also showed off her “Don’t Be a Trash Head” hat, which was made using items picked up near her residence. She said she gained a lot of support from wearing the hat, and it was a hit with teenage volunteers.

Lyles said Palmetto Pride is involved with education, enforcement, and pick-up programs and works in conjunction with the Litter Control Association. She told those in attendance that Palmetto Pride could help each municipality with grant applications and help provide items such as vests, gloves and bags for clean-up days.

“This is the best way to get it going — what y’all have got in this room,” Lyles said. “It’s impressive that you have this support from the top down. A lot of places aren’t so lucky.”

Committee members decided the first step would be to get new ordinances in place, and Lyles said that was a great decision since enforcement is impossible without ordinances in place.

The committee will finalize plans for a campaign launch event, which is projected for April. The month of April was chosen at the request of Sheriff David Taylor, since it is South Carolina’s “zero tolerance for litter” month.

The clean-up /beautification committee will meet again at 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 19, in the meeting/training room located on the bottom floor of City Hall in Union to finalize plans.

Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234, Ext. 29.