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Join Together to Keep Your Community Free of Litter


Sometime this past weekend, along a main road close to where I live, someone pulled over with their truck and unloaded what must have been a ton of old furniture, clothes and other junk. Not content to leave it all on one side of the road, they left a portion on the other side as well. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence in our world—illegal dumping and littering along roadways, beaches, in the water, and in just about every location you can imagine.

This morning I drove by the same road close to my home and the junk had been removed—thankfully.

One of the hotel companies that participates in litter pickup each year is Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. As part of the annual Coastal Cleanup Day, hundreds of Fairmont associates in California and Hawaii scour inland waterways and beaches for litter. This past September, Fairmont led nine drop-in cleanup sites (Sonoma, San Francisco, Berkeley, San Jose, Santa Monica, Newport Beach, San Diego and two sites in Hawaii (Big Island’s Pauoa Bay and Maui’s Sugar Beach). Volunteers hauled off everything from sleeping bags to artificial Christmas trees. Fairmont volunteers picked up over two tons of trash and recyclables.

Cigarette Butt Litter

This year the Coastal Commission highlighted the problem of cigarette butt litter to raise awareness of the harm they pose to the environment and to motivate proper disposal. Forty percent of all the debris picked up was cigarette filters, according to shared data. These filters, which are made of a form of plastic called cellulose acetate, do not biodegrade and can leach toxic chemicals, including dozens of known carcinogens, into the environment for up to 10 years. Up to 80 percent of the trash on our coasts originates on land and travels to the ocean through storm drains and creeks.

“Coastal Cleanup Day is California’s largest volunteer event and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is a proud (annual) sponsor of this effort,” says Paul Tormey, Regional Vice-President of Operations and General Manager at Fairmont San Francisco. “Fairmont colleagues again clearly demonstrated their support for clean beaches and waterways by turning out in record numbers. We proudly scoured beaches, bays, shorelines and inland locations, picking up trash and debris. Over a century ago Fairmont Hotels & Resorts was founded on an enduring connection to the land, communities and people where we do business. Energizing our commitment to ‘think globally and act locally’, we are proud to support hotel-based environmental initiatives that encourage partnerships and learning while addressing a universal environmental issue in a way that hits close to home.”

Make an effort to pick up litter in your community. It is a great team activity and great for the environment as well. And, be sure to tell me about it. I can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.