Nils Andreassen and his sons Amos, 7, and Axel, 11, pick up trash in the Lemon Creek area during the annual Litter Free community cleanup on Saturday morning. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Nils Andreassen and his sons Amos, 7, and Axel, 11, pick up trash in the Lemon Creek area during the annual Litter Free community cleanup on Saturday morning. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Annual community cleanup is its own reward — and then some

Nearly 800 people pick up tons of trash, recyclables and perhaps treasures

For hundreds of volunteers every year just cleaning up tons of trash throughout Juneau is its own reward, but Nils Andreassen says his sons Axel, 11, and Amos, 7, have managed to reap some actual riches by participating in cleanups the past two years.

“Axel found $100 a couple of years ago,” Andreassen said Saturday as his family picked up trash on Saturday morning in the Lemon Creek Area during another cleanup. “Amos found $5 last year.”

They were among at least 672 people who signed up at bag distribution sites for the annual Litter Free Inc. Community Cleanup, according to Laurie Sica, a board member for the local nonprofit. She said an additional 66 people picked up filled bags of garbage left by roadsides and other collection spots, nine people assisted at the recycling facility, 10 at the landfill and 10 passed out the trash bags at distribution sites around town.

The total amount of trash is still being determined, but last year’s cleanup by 785 total participants — about the same as this year — resulted in 24,100 pounds of waste brought to the landfill, and 265 pounds of glass, plastics, and aluminum that went to recycling.

Nancy Waterman (center) passes out trash bags to volunteers at Foodland IGA during the annual Litter Free community cleanup on Saturday morning. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Nancy Waterman (center) passes out trash bags to volunteers at Foodland IGA during the annual Litter Free community cleanup on Saturday morning. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Among those getting an early start shortly after bag distribution began at 8 a.m. were Christy Newell and her daughter Ava, 18, who were planning to join two other family members along the beach near their home in West Juneau where Ava had spotted and started to remove a large amount of styrofoam.

“I took a friend of mine down there, and we picked up like two carloads and dropped it off at the harbor a few weeks ago,” she said, guessing it may have come from when the city was doing renovation work at the harbor.

Ava Newell said she’s participated in the cleanups for the past six or seven years, although usually with schoolmates until this year.

“I do it with the cross-country team,” she said. “We just like load up into cars based off of our team squads and just go to random places where we think there’s trash.”

Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1547 pick up trash along Egan Drive during the annual Litter Free community cleanup on Saturday morning. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1547 pick up trash along Egan Drive during the annual Litter Free community cleanup on Saturday morning. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Her mother, collecting bags, asked the volunteer handing them out what to do with objects that wouldn’t fit since some of the styrofoam pieces were too large. Also, “there’s a barrel down there of something she reported to the Coast Guard last week. I don’t think we’re going to be able to get that out. And there’s bicycles.”

Those styrofoam chunks, along with other heavy and/or oversized items ranging from long-dead Christmas trees to rusting wheels from large vehicles were piled along with the plastic bags throughout the city by midday. Some persistent people kept picking up until the 2 p.m. deadline when trucks provided by businesses and government entities began collecting the trash and recyclables for this year’s tally.

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

A dead Christmas tree and a traffic cone are piled along with bags of garbage near the Governor’s Mansion during the annual Litter Free community cleanup on Saturday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

A dead Christmas tree and a traffic cone are piled along with bags of garbage near the Governor’s Mansion during the annual Litter Free community cleanup on Saturday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

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