Existing amongst the popularity surrounding sustainable community initiatives, and recognition for smart growth, lies the less glamorous, but wildly successful, adopt-a-highway program. Surely you’ve seen signs along stretches of our highways alluding to this program, yet many of us turn a blind eye. Essentially, the program allows citizens, community groups, and businesses the opportunity to offer a helping hand by taking ownership of portions of the California Highway System. Duties undertaken include trash collection, graffiti removal, and even landscape improvements. According to a Caltrans fact sheet, from July 2009 to June 2010, program volunteers collected 16,741 cubic yards of litter resulting in a savings cost of $11,280,000 to California tax payers.
Trash collection is a major financial burden. The California Department of Transportation alone spends $41 million annually on litter removal. The State of New York spends millions annually as well just to transfer trash out of state. Additionally, the thousands of truck trips required annually to move the trash has its own environmental consequences.
Therefore, if you’re looking to get involved this holiday season, maybe you and a group could get lend a hand by adopting a highway!