“X Marks the Spot”

In late 2005, the Tennessee Bottle Bill Project organized a series of volume-based litter pickups known as “X Marks the Spot” (“because there’s treasure in our trash!”) Volunteers were asked to pick up deposit-beverage containers separately from other litter, using 13-gallon trash bags filled as full as possible, and marking them with a red X.

The following photos are from a cleanup along a stretch of Saundersville Ferry Road in Wilson County.
bags (marked with x's) filled with beverage container litter lining a highwayBeverage container litter lined up along the road
10 bags of x-marked litter next to 4 unmarked bagsThat's 10 bags of beverage bottles and cans for every 4 bags of other litter.

A deposit law would keep most of the X-marked trash off the streets!

To date (April 2006) there have been 20 cleanups in 13 counties involving 168 volunteers and covering 29.5 miles of road, about 75 percent of them rural. Groups and individuals taking part included two garden clubs; a Cub Scout troop; several teachers and student groups (including ROTC and several science classes); several fishermen; a factory worker; numerous retirees; two neighborhood associations; one Sunday School class; and prisoners from Unicoi and Lake counties. (See a newspaper account from the Johnson City Press of the Unicoi prison cleanup on the other side of this page.)

The lowest proportion of container litter was from a cleanup in an urban part of Davidson County (30 percent); the highest was from a cleanup near two bars in a rural part of Clay County (78 percent). The most extensive cleanup was done by prisoners in Lake County. They picked up 4.5 miles of State Route 21W and reported 56.67 percent beverage containers.

Here are the results as of March 2006 (cleanup results continue to come in):

All litter: 512.5 bags 6,662.5 gals 100 percent Non-container litter: 228 bags 2,964 gals 44.49 percent Containers-only litter: 284.5 bags 3,698.5 gals 55.51 percent


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