San Jose Volunteers Set Record for Litter Cleanup in 2014

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.


  1. aaaaaand 39 tons of that came from “The Jungle” during the cities “Homeless Relocation” Program, 1/2 modeled after the “Native Relocation program”

    At least the Indians got some land. We just took their things and said “Too bad” One thought I had on Tiny Houses. At some point more of these train track leases will expire. We should just park a line of traincars along the expired lease tracks, revamp them a bit to be comfortable tiny houses, and call it a day. Most of the infrastructure is already there, sewer, water, and electric. The land is graded to be high, and drains well.

  2. Is the photo chosen meant to tell us that all this collecting was done at rivers and streams? If so, we can all guess the source of all that litter. This litter total does not count the litter picked up along highways by Adopt A Highway folks and weekend work inmates from the county jail. I have often wondered why there is so much more litter along California roads than any of the many other states I have visited. For instance, several years back I was in a van with friends being driven from Raleigh-Durham Airport to Pinehurst. During that 90 minute ride, a distance of 72 miles, I saw a grand total of two pieces of litter along the highway. Heavily littered streets and highways are non-existent in other places I have visited–Western Europe, New Zealand, Fiji, Canada, Costa Rica, Chile, and Argentina. What sort of person is it who will leave an empty soft drink cup or fast food take out bag on the street in town or toss it out the window along the highway? Whatever sort of person that is, California definitely has more of them than anywhere else I have been.

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