Benicia Litter Pickers started small.
Steacy Sadler began this grassroots organization in 2019 with a simple intent: give people a platform to share pictures of themselves and others picking up litter. While Benicia Litter Pickers continues to share pictures of good deeds, the amount of trash clean up has grown dramatically. With the help of the City and community members, BLP now collects up to 600 pounds of litter in a single event.
Beginning with only individual photo shares on Sadler’s BLP Facebook page, members began suggesting a meet up.
The individuals of this Facebook group met at Pizza Pirate, where Sadler simply asked, “What do you guys want to do?” Here, members enthusiastically suggested litter pick up events. Soon thereafter, Sadler began forming litter pick up events and coordinating with the City. Now happening nearly every month, BLP members gather to pick up litter from our shoreline, parks, and city streets. Aided with accessibility to the Benicia Corps Yard and scales from the City, BLP is able to weigh the amount of waste collected before large drop offs.
While the litter that BLP comes across varies, Sadler addressed common items: small liquor bottles, lots of cigarette butts, and disposable masks and gloves. Some of these items were common before the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020, however, the amount and variation of litter has increased in the past year. With the closing of restaurants, increased need of PPE and online shopping, Sadler notes that she has observed more takeout waste and single use plastics. Not only has the era of sanitation led to more waste, it has understandably increased caution. While it was formerly common practice for many to pick up litter while on walks or shoreline visits, fear of viral transmission has caused many to avoid the risk of picking up a stranger’s litter. The pandemic has undoubtedly expanded the amount and variety of litter found in Benicia.
Whether you would like to join Benicia Litter Pickers or help out on your own, there are plenty of options.
Benicia Litter Pickers is well connected: they have an Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Reddit account, and website. If you’re interested in signing up for an event, visit www.benicialitterpickers.org, click the “Contact Us” tab, fill out a form, and you will be added to the email list. If you are not looking to participate in BLP just yet, but are interested in helping your community with litter removal, Sadler suggests several options. For a simple start, she says with joy, “Just pick up after yourself!” If you were previously a litter picker pre-Covid but have been deterred by contagion caution, Sadler recommends keeping tools in your car that make for no-contact pickups. BLP gives out free gloves (provided by our City), trash grabbers (thank you Republic Services, First Norcal Credit Union, and Ace Hardware), and bags to those who would like to pick up trash on their own. Whether you participate in a Benicia Litter Pickers event or start small on your own, your actions can influence the environmental well being of our town.