Plymouth man picks up 15 pounds of trash a week in an effort to help the environment

PLYMOUTH, Minn. – There is a garbage man in Plymouth who doesn’t have his own garbage truck, but still covers a lot of ground.

Armed with his Nifty Nabber, Doug Eichten, 77, walks the busy, two-mile Bass Lake Road several times a week.

He’s been doing this for six years – inspired by roadside trash cans he saw while visiting Florida. So he had his own way back home.

His goal is 15 pounds of trash each week. Quite often, he picks up more.

“Nothing surprises me with this trash anymore. Its mass continues to be unbelievable,” Eichten said.

There are only two things he won’t pick up: the pavement – for obvious reasons – and cigarette butts. He said if he picked up one by one he would pick up trash for weeks.

He found soda cans, beer cans, tobacco boxes, and fast food boxes. Even dirty clothes and diapers.

Doug has learned a number of lessons along the way. His main reason for doing this is not to make the roads look good. It is to help the environment.

“All of this, when it rains heavily, goes into storm drains, into ponds, into creeks, to Mississippi. And my God, it’s going to the Gulf of Mexico,” Doug said. “It’s dangerous to wildlife. That’s more important than how it looks.”

So he continued, hoping to set an example in vain.

“I hope it’s used with the kids as a teaching moment. Because it’s unnecessary and it’s unacceptable,” Eichten said. “You can complain about these things, or you can do something about them.”

Doug wants to thank neighbor Carolyn Dutton and her crew for helping him out.

For his part, Doug expended four Nifty Nabbers in six years. That’s the amount of trash he picked up.

His daughter also adopted an area to pick up trash near Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis.

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