Talking trash

Recycle, re-use or put it in the trash
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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If you want to talk trash, then Dave Albright of Loomis is the guy to call. Albright is the executive director of Citizen Involvement Means Better Living (CIMBL), a nonprofit, volunteer organization that cleans county roadways of trash and debris. Albright recently spoke with Loomis Grammar School first- and second-graders about proper trash disposal and recycling. “Don’t litter,” Albright advised the students. “Ask others not to litter and if you see someone drop trash, ask them to pick it up.” Albright told the children how long different types of trash take to decompose. He said paper takes two to five months, an orange peel takes six months, cigarette butts last 12 years, and plastic rings from six-packs of soda stay around for 450 years. He also said that glass bottles will take one million years to decompose and plastic bottles will never fully decompose. He also called plastic grocery bags “urban tumbleweeds” and asked the students to tie them in a knot so they won’t blow around so much. He said re-usable grocery bags are the way to go. Albright also lamented that “most litter is found within 15 feet of a garbage can.” Albright explained that roadside trash comes from a variety of sources, mostly from people. Those sources include trash thrown out of moving vehicles, garbage flying out of the backs of pick-up trucks or garbage trucks, and people dumping large items on roadsides. He said fast-food packaging accounts for 40 percent of the roadside litter they pick up. “About 20 percent of litter ends up in rivers or creeks, then the ocean,” he said. During the presentation, Albright pulled out typical trash items found along roadsides and had students help determine which could be re-used or recycled. He also explained that packaging containing two different materials, such as foil and plastic packaged juice drinks are not recyclable. Albright advised students and their families to look at how a product is packaged before buying it and to choose packaging that is recyclable or can be re-used. Albright actually foresees a time in the future when landfills will be “mined” to extract petroleum-based plastics, glass and metals. “That’s just my opinion,” he said. Hal Albertsen, who lived in Lincoln, started CIMBL in 1994. Albertsen died in 2004 of emphysema, but before he died, Albright promised that he would keep CIMBL going. Since its beginning, CIMBL volunteers have cleaned 2,900 miles of roadway of 270 tons of garbage. They just hit the 30,000 mark for the number of bags of trash they’ve collected. CIMBL volunteers are easily recognizable along roadways on Saturday mornings wearing bright orange vests, carrying “grabber” sticks and clutching garbage bags. According to Albright, passersby assume they’re prisoners or people doing court-ordered community service. Instead, they are students, families and clubs trying to make a difference in their communities. According to their Web site, CIMBL meets twice a month on Saturdays for three hours in pre-selected locations, but is open to working with volunteers to clean any location in Placer County at a time convenient to them. CIMBL provides all of the gear and the counties or cities remove the bags of trash. Albright said CIMBL is thinking of a name-change that would better describe what they do and is hoping to find new board members. For more information, call Albright at 652-2135 or visit their Web site at