She Spent Her Vacation Picking Up Trash Across the U.S., and Strangers Chipped in With Help and Gas
A Colorado woman has spent 23 days picking up 126 bags of garbage across the country.
After more than a month off from her job at a campus recreation center, 24-year-old Stefani Shamrowicz decided to take a trip to help clean up the environment.
He now drives more than 70 hours through Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, cleaning everything from urine-filled bottles to lawn ornaments.
“About 80 percent are drinking bottles and masks have been quite common,” the Fort Collins local said. “I found some fast food toys and a tire with a pair of cowboy boots.”
Stefani said her goal is not to embarrass, but to encourage people to do what they can.
“When I post it’s never ‘this is disgusting or we’re horrible,’ it’s ‘hey I’m cleaning up this city’ and I keep a positive light on it,” he said.
“I’m not going to be able to collect everything, but if everyone starts to collect something on walks or runs, that’s where the magic is.”
Stefani, who collected one to 16 bags at a time, became discouraged when she felt she wasn’t doing enough.
“There was a place that had an ocean of garbage and I pushed four bags, but then I collapsed because I realized how much there was and I felt like four bags did nothing,” he said.
But remember to do what you can, especially since you exceeded your goal.
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“My monumental day was bag 100 in Ohio on the 16th,” he said.
“I dedicated it to my parents because they raised me to be an independent person and they were very supportive on the trip.”
People donate $ 10 a bag for Stefani to clean in her name, which she uses for lodging and gas. The person’s name is written on the number of bags they have donated to and Stefani posts a photo on her Instagram when they are full, thanking them for helping clean up the city she is in.
People online and in person have responded positively to the project.
“Some people sent me pictures of garbage bags that they collected,” Stefani said.
“I was walking on the beach in Florida, and I started to make a bag, these two women saw me and began to help me indifferently fill the bag.”
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With the resumption of her job on June 1, Stefani is now back home, but she has a lot of good things to say about her unique trip to America.
“There’s trash everywhere, so I’m happy that I can make a little impact everywhere I go,” he said.
“I’ve been to 23 national parks in the US, so cleaning up this trash is a big thank you for all the joy and good times that national parks and nature in general have brought into my life.”
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