So why do they look at me as if I have two heads?

By Jan Herbert
Rockford Park District

Whether you were “green” before the color was fashionable or whether you’re just ready to find the “shade” that works best for you, here’s information about doing just “one green thing.”

Recycling is not my only concentration…I am also a trash picker-upper. So it seems logical, while enjoying the warmth of South Padre Island and daily walks on the beach, I’ve been picking up trash. This is not rocket science (although sometimes things are a little deceiving, I did have to learn the difference between a broken shell and a piece of Styrofoam or plastic). In addition, there are some things I just do not want to pick up.

I get looks from the other early-morning walkers (I have a friend who says they look at me funny at home, too). Here, many assume I am picking up shells. They often ask, “Did you find any treasures this morning”? They are surprised when I say (as yesterday)…“yes, set a record this morning…six plastic sandals.” Sandals are popular things to abandon on the beach, along with plastic spoons (more so than forks), combs, small toys and rope. There are other oddities, but the largest number of items I have gathered are Styrofoam, foam, and various plastic lids and containers. I alternate the days, one time going north and the next going south. You would think that eventually there would be some dwindling of the amount. Well, it just is not so. It seems to continue accumulating. Is it from some of the giant floating garbage slicks often mentioned?

It is interesting…there are not many aluminum cans and, in fact, not even that many plastic bottles. It makes me wonder.

The larger question is when it is so easy to grab a container and pick up a few things, why does it not occur to the people I see on the beach every morning to join me in the trash pick-up.

For more information, e-mail Jan Herbert at

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