Sustainable Neighborhoods: Cleaning Up Lorain Flash-Mob Style

Ideastream is launching an occasional series looking at neighborhood sustainability projects – small efforts by residents to help make their communities greener.

Lorain resident Max Schaefer does his part by picking up trash and doing yard work.

He organizes events he calls QuickPicks: flash mob community clean-ups.

“A week before it’s held, we’ll post on Facebook and Twitter where it’s going to be, supplies we’ll provide,” explained Schaefer.

The day of the event, people who show up spend an hour cleaning up a city block, mowing lawns, picking up trash, or managing weeds.

He says it’s about city beautification, but it’s also about helping residents with their property or a vacant lot next to them.

“We try to just help some areas that need a little bit of work and sometimes get overlooked,” said Schaefer.

During the events, Schaefer says his groups typically pick up a lot of fast food garbage and plastic bottles. Occasionally, they’ll have to deal with waste or large items like tires or children’s playground equipment.

“The QuickPicks are about building better communities, better neighborhoods, involving the citizens of Lorain, and getting them to show some pride in their city,” said Schaefer.

He’s happy to see QuickPicks in Lorain, but looks forward to seeing neighboring communities start their own versions.

Hosting your own QuickPick

Here are Max Schaefer’s steps for a successful QuickPick (edited lightly)

  1. Select a city block, a day, and a time (but make sure it’s only 1 hour long)
  2. Create a Facebook event with a short, catchy title (ex. CLE #QuickPick: Hough)
  3. Invite friends/family/anyone you know
  4. Encourage others to bring supplies including trash bags, gloves, brooms, but buy extra just in case
  5. On the day of the event, show up 15 minutes early and have a good QuickPick!

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