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The Commons

Vermonters get ready for Green Up Day

Originally published in The Commons issue #406 (Wednesday, May 3, 2017).

Always the first Saturday in May, Green Up Day this year is Saturday, May 6. On this day, volunteers come together to clean up litter from roadsides and public spaces to help keep Vermont green and clean.

While Vermont’s Interstates and state highways, some 2,707 miles, are cleaned each spring by Vermont’s Agency of Transportation, Green Up Day efforts focus on town roads — 13,086 miles of them, according to a news release.

Green Up Day is Vermont’s largest all-volunteer, statewide, one-day event. In 2016 over 22,000 volunteers came out in their communities throughout the state, collecting some 300 tons of trash and more than 5,000 tires.

Organizers say the event shows the power and fun of communities working together, civic responsibility, respect for the environment, and pride in our state.

On Green Up Day, participating volunteers grab the official bright green bag and fill it with paper, cans, and roadside trash (it’s okay to mix trash and recyclables at this time of the year). Once an area is clean, the green bags can be left by the side of the road for town-wide pick-up.

Bright clothes are recommended so volunteers will be visible to passing cars. Gloves and boots protect against dirt and ticks.

To find how to take part, visit Green Up’s website at Every town’s Coordinator is listed on the “How to Participate” page, as well as how to get Green Up bags, what to do with filled bags, and any special offerings — breakfast, lunch, refreshments and even live music.

Here’s what some area towns are doing on Green Up Day:

• Brattleboro residents can find bags from 8 a.m. to noon at the Restless Rooster, the Brattleboro Food Co-op, Brattleboro Subaru and the new West Brattleboro Fire Department. Bags can be picked up anytime at Brown & Roberts, Brattleboro Subaru, or the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce.

• In Townshend, bags can be picked up at the elementary school or Town Hall beforehand. The town truck will be parked in front of the elementary school, so feel free to drop off full bags. Afterward, join the Townshend Community Hope & Action group on the Common for free live music and food. The group will grill up beef and veggie burgers from noon to 3 p.m., and local band Shelving Rock will perform in the gazebo.

• In Rockingham, families and interested parties can pick up the familiar green bags at J&H Hardware store, the Saxtons River Market, and the Town Clerk’s Office. Full bags may be dropped off at the Saxtons River Fire Department, Rockingham Highway Garage, or the Bellows Falls Garage.

• In Vernon, volunteers should meet at the shelter at the Vernon Recreation Center on Pond Road at 9 a.m. to get road assignments, instructions, and trash bags. Volunteers can come back at noon for a complimentary lunch.

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