By the Numbers: 654 Tons
With the collective force of 6,000 litter picker-uppers, San Jose was able to haul away the equivalent of 44 filled-to-the-brim semis of trash. The 654-ton yield in 2014 marked an all-time record for the city and a 163 percent increase from the year prior.
Paper, plastic, shattered glass and food wrappers accounted for most of the detritus. That’s a first for San Jose. Plastic bags and foam food-takeaway containers used to top the list until the city cracked down on their use, imposing a 10-cents-a-bag rule and forcing restaurants to stop using Styrofoam-style containers.
The city says the BYOB (bring-your-own bag) rule cut down on plastic bag litter in creeks by 71 percent. Last year’s record-shattering litter removal, the city says, owes to unprecedented help from community groups who took part in some 115 cleanups last year.