‘Get Bagged in Blackstone’ gets residents excited about cleaning up litter

‘Get Bagged in Blackstone’ gets residents excited about cleaning up litter

Randy Faneuf from the Blackstone Department of Public Works picks up filled trash bags as part of the “Get Bagged in Blackstone” cleanup event.

BLACKSTONE – A last-minute cleanup effort in Blackstone is picking up steam as it heads into its second and final weekend this Saturday and Sunday, May 1 and 2.

Celeste Langlois from the Parks and Recreation Commission, along with Selectwoman Mary Bulso and town resident Bonnie Combs, are behind the latest effort to clean up the town. Langlois said residents are already getting into the spirit and sharing pictures of their litter pickup on social media.

“I just bought the bags, and we’re just doing it,” she said. “And people seem to be pretty excited about it. People picked up the bags, and we already have people posting pictures on Facebook of their trash bounty.”

Combs said the effort came together last week after Bulso snapped a picture of her picking up trash along Canal Street. A dedicated environmentalist who also works as marketing director for the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, Combs makes it a habit to pick up litter as part of her daily routine. This year, she’s continued her litter-picking habits, even as many of the larger cleanup events were postponed due to the pandemic.

“I said, ‘I’m bagged. You caught me!’” she said. “We laughed and then later that night, she messaged me saying we should get a cleanup going with that name.”

The two reached out to Langlois, and “Get Bagged in Blackstone” quickly took shape. Langlois created a signup page where residents can enter their name and chosen cleanup location. Participants are invited to clean up the space on their own time between Earth Day, April 22, and Sunday, May 2.

Once complete, participants are asked to take a picture of their crew and filled trash bags and post before and after pictures to the Blackstone Happenings page on Facebook. Residents will be able to vote for their favorite trash bagger, and the winner will receive a $50 gift card to Betty’s Donuts and a golden trash picker.

“We’ve been lucky enough that Betty’s Donuts, Goodstuff Smokehouse and the Family Grocer here in Blackstone are all sites where people can go and pick up their cleanup kits,” Langlois said.

“This was our way of doing an actual cleanup event without having people gather,” she added. “And I think sometimes it’s better because people pick the location they want to go to, so it’s a little more personal.”

The Department of Public Works will pick up filled bags left at the cleanup locations. Cleanup kits containing empty bags and gloves are available at local businesses.

After the cleanup period closes on May 2, Langlois said residents will be able to vote for their favorite trash bagger on the Blackstone Happenings page May 3 through May 8.

“Just today, I saw somebody posting they picked up two bags with nips and just trash that was on the side of the road as they were walking,” she said. “I think people are really taking notice of what’s actually on the ground and how we can do our part to help.”

To sign up for a cleanup location, go to tinyurl.com/xcmfsne9 .