Local community efforts provide access to large item removal, reduce littering

Newly elected Alton Mayor David Goins is working toward initiatives that will clean up the city and make it safer.

The City of Alton is partnering with Republic Services for a large or bulk item drop off event, working out details for future plans with Republic to make bulk item pick up year-round and expanding other initiatives aimed at cleaning up the city.


Newly elected Alton Mayor David Goins is looking forward to the city’s partnership with Republic Services and the large or bulk item drop event slated for June 12.


“What Republic has agreed to do is that if anytime there’s a bulk item that needs to be picked up by residents, all they have to do is call Republic. It won’t be just two, three or four days a year. It’ll just be ongoing,” Goins said. “And that’s something that will probably try to curtail a lot of the dumping that goes on. So that’s something that we have that we’re proud to be able to announce starting in September.” 


Goins also said the Alton Main Street, which implements the Alton Spring City-Wide Litter Clean-Up, expanded its one-day spring clean-up to 30 days. The city is also partnering with Lowe’s to continue its beautification efforts around town with donations such as mulch and flowers.


“City Council Liaison Bianca Jackson is going to be reaching out to the aldermen in each ward to identify specific areas in their ward that may need some sprucing up or something along that line,” Goins said. “Lowe’s, what they do is they offer their employees like eight hours of community service work. They can go out and volunteer for eight hours and get paid.”


Bring Your Own Glen-Ed, a local grassroots community of individuals who educate about and reduce the use of single-use plastics, also volunteers their time for the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Adopt-A-Highway program. Volunteer groups agree to adopt a specific section of highway for two years and agree to four clean-ups a year.


“We have a stretch, actually very close to SIUE. It’s just right on the border from 157 at Chain of Rocks to West Main Street in Glen Carbon,” Mary Grose, an executive team member of Bring Your Own Glen-Ed, said. “We have four cleanups a year, and we always need volunteers.”


Peg Flach, another executive team member of Bring Your Own Glen-Ed, said many of their volunteers are younger people.


“We’ve had Girl Scout troop troops, and Boy Scout troops and just kids volunteer if an adult comes along with them. We are a small little group, so we really need other people to help us with this project,” Flach said.


Grose said they want to see younger people get involved so they will be able to pick up projects like this and others to help the environment.


“We definitely need young people doing these things,” Grose said. “One reason why we are involved is that we think about the younger people, and we want to leave the world in a safe place for them. So, that really motivates us.”


Bring Your Own Glen-Ed helped push a proposal through Edwardsville to approve a fee in large retailers for plastic and paper bags. The proposal, which passed, was to have been put in effect in April of 2020, but Illinois COVID-19 restrictions didn’t allow reusable bags in stores, Grose said.


“We feel that the fee is important because there are people who take it upon themselves to use reusable bags and understand the importance of that,” Grose said. “But there are people also who don’t [know], and the fee will raise that awareness to the problem of single-use waste. It’s mostly not recyclable, it mostly goes to the landfill, and gets into our waterways, and is toxic to our environment.”


The group is asking supporters to take action by writing Gov. J.B. Pritzker and asking him to reverse his April 2020 executive order banning the use of reusable bags at retail outlets due to the pandemic. Citizens can read the bag ordinance on the Bring Your Own Glen-Ed website, or learn how they can take action on the group’s Facebook page.


Anyone wishing to volunteer for the highway clean-up efforts from 9-11 a.m. on June 5 can do so by visiting Bring Your Own Glen-Ed on Facebook and following their link to SignUpGenius.


Alton residents with valid ID can drop off large and bulky items like mattresses and items too large fit in trash bins from 8 a.m.-noon on Saturday, June 12 at 1 Henry Drive. No commercial waste or bagged garbage will be accepted. Residents can also drop off electronic items for E-waste recycling. Contact the Alton Public Works Department for any questions at 463-3579.


Madison County will hold their E-Waste Collections from 8:30 a.m-2:30 p.m. on June 12 at CJD E-Cycling at 5257 N. State Route 157 in Edwardsville. Appointments are required. Residents can sign up or view a list of accepted items on the Madison County website.

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