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Stash Your Trash

Secure your trash bins, reduce the amount of waste you create, and clean up litter in your community to keep our streams clean and wildlife safe.

The Impact

Litter is not just unsightly. It harms water quality as it decomposes in our streams and can clog the stormwater system, causing damaging flooding during storm events.

Litter can take hundreds of years to break down. Even when it has broken down into pieces too small to see it is still there contaminating our environment. Plastic waste can further be broken down into microplastic particles less than 0.5 millimeters in size. They can come from clothing fibers, household supplies, and food and beverage packaging. Microplastics may contain contaminants and harmful organic chemicals, which impact water quality and degrade aquatic ecosystems.

Litter is also fatal to wildlife. Leaving litter with food smells (e.g. pizza boxes, sports bars or gum wrappers) causes bears to stop fearing humans and increases conflict, ultimately leading to those animals having to be euthanized. The digestive tracks of songbirds and raptors cannot process litter which causes death – ultimately decreasing populations. Birds get tangled in discarded fishing line and hooks. Please pass on the importance to disposing litter in waste bins or pack it out by following the basic Leave No Trace ethics when recreating.

What You Can Do

  • Properly dispose of trash.
  • Keep garbage can lids secure and do not put out open containers with trash since waste can be blown away by the wind when bins are not properly closed.
  • If you see litter and trash in your community or on a trail, pick it up and properly dispose of it.
  • Organize or participate in a stream or community cleanup. Find an opportunity to get involved in the Boulder St. Vrain Watershed.

Reduce Waste

Reducing the amount of waste you create reduces your environmental impact by saving the resources used to create the product and keeping the waste out of landfills.

  • Purchase only what you need and explore second-hand stores and online marketplaces before buying something new.
  • Plan meals carefully to reduce food waste and compost scraps at home or at a local compost facility.
  • Replace single-use plastics with reusable products: reusable water bottles and water filters at home, metal or bamboo silverware, metal straws, tote bags, reusable food containers.
  • Purchase cleaning products, toiletries, and food package-free at a bulk store.
  • Choose loose produce (or use a reusable cloth bag) at the grocery store or farmer’s market.
  • Ask companies to offer package free or recyclable packaging for your favorite products.