Are you tired about garbage on the street? If so, here’s a novel solution: the Adopt-a-Litter-Container program. The premise is simple. You fill out a short application, agree to provide garbage bags and to keep the area around the container clean and clear, and either empty the garbage yourself or pay the city a small fee to pick it up for you. While there’s no guarantee of “litter container” (really, who else other than a government official refers to “litter containers”?) style, you can put in a request for plastic, smooth concrete, or aggregate concrete. They drop it off, you agree to maintain it for two years, and there you have it – your own personal public garbage can.
Residents of the Wedge have an extra incentive to get the cans. LHENA approved NRP funds to give the first 20 applicants $100 in return for your participation. You can use that money to help offset the cost of liners or to pay for any additional garbage hauling fees associated with the project.
For an odder clean-up effort, you can also participate in the “Adopt-An-Ash Receptacle” program. It works essentially the same as the Litter Container program, but instead of trash you get to clean up cigarette butts. While I hate it when people throw their cigarettes on the ground (and even designed a billboard with the slogan “the Earth is Not Your Ashtray” while in junior high) I don’t know how well this program will work. Will it encourage smokers to congregate in specific areas? Who should decide where those spots are located? Do neighbors get a say in it? I’m all for public gathering places, and just as against cigarette litter as the next person, but that doesn’t mean I want my local boulevard turned into an outdoor chimney.
If you’re looking for actual boulevard beautification, and not just the absence of unsightly litter, then consider adding a boulevard garden. Helpful Twin Cities boulevard-specific gardening tips, including a list of dos and don’ts, can be found here. Minneapolis has specific ordinances regarding height and type of plants, but there’s still plenty of room for creativity. Just don’t grow or plant weeds (or weed, for that matter), shrubs, vegetables, or “noxious plants,” at least not without first obtaining a permit from the city.
And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to empty the Dirty Diaper Receptacle. (and yes, I'm accepting Dirty Diaper Receptacle adoption requests...)