Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ecology Youth Corps: Making a Difference One Piece of Litter at a Time

By Erika Holmes, communications manager, Waste 2 Resources

Drivers are urged to watch out for 248 teens with the Ecology Youth Corps (EYC) picking up litter along roadways across the state through mid-August.

EYC crews based out of the Department of Ecology’s northwest and eastern regional offices started working in late June. The central crew began July 1, and the southwest crew begins work July 7.

Since 1975, the Ecology Youth Corps (EYC) has hired over 12,000 teens ages 14 to 17 to clean roadsides and other illegal dump sites. Youths from all over Washington gain valuable job skills, teamwork experience, safety awareness and education about environmental topics.

As we gear up for this summer’s cleaning, we want to share why this program is more than just picking up litter. In the following video, three people who’ve been there share their rewarding experiences working on the EYC.

Rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot appreciating the EYC in The Seattle Times. 

Sir Picks-a-Lot (of litter up)

Anthony Ray, or Sir Mix-a-Lot as he’s more commonly called now, worked on an EYC crew in the late 1970s. After reaching rap fame, he shared his experience with The Seattle Times. He brings up an important misconception about teens working for the EYC. They definitely aren’t juvenile delinquents. The best part: the EYC taught him work ethic, something “a lot of cats my age didn't have.”

That work ethic is proven by the numbers, and EYC crews didn’t disappoint in 2013.


2013 litter cleanup results

Last summer, EYC crews worked 64,869 hours (totals include spring and fall median crews):
  • Picking up 1,081,874 pounds of litter
  • Recycling 116,673 pounds of litter collected
  • Cleaning 5,952 miles of road
  • Cleaning up 192 illegal dumps

How you can help EYC crews

Step 1: The easy part: don’t litter.

Step 2: Look out for crews picking up litter on the road this summer. Give them a break for safety, and inform others about the important service they provide.

Step 3: Engage with the EYC on social media. We’ll post pictures and statistics from the road tagged with #EYC4life and #IThinkYouDroppedThis.
  • Were you in the EYC? Post your old pictures and stories from the road using #EYC4life.
  • See something somebody shouldn’t have tossed? Snap a photo and tag it with #IThinkYouDroppedThis.

No comments: