The holidays have come and gone, but some refuse to get rid of the decorations just yet. That's until volunteers from one Austin organization went to Highway Loop 360 and removed the ornaments from the trees.
It's the time of year, Christmas lovers may dread.
“They're so excited to put it up and then when it's time to take it down they're like I don't want Christmas to be over,” Elissa Croslin, volunteer, said.
Each holiday season, people stop on Highway Loop 360 and throw up decorations on the trees. Croslin and her friends are volunteering with Keep Austin beautiful to help with the Christmas cleanup. They're also finding some other trash along the way.
“You don't want to litter all of these trees and they're still growing and living. It's kind of unfair to have all the nature over here just covered with Christmas ornaments and the hooks and the zip ties,” Croslin said.
This is the fourth year the organization has done the cleanup. More than 100 people showed up to help this year. They think it's important for people to understand what happens if the decorations are left on the trees.
“The wind blows it off or it'll get washed out in the rain, and actually end up in our creeks,” Ilyash Mulenson, director of programs for Keep Austin Beautiful, said.
Mulenson said that can certainly affect wildlife and quality of our own water. For next Christmas, Mulenson says there are "green" ways to decorate the trees.
“Instead of plastics, putting something up that's organic, something birds can eat that won't have such a harmful effect on the environment,” he said.
They hope the effort can get even bigger next year. Volunteers like Elissa Croslin just do it for the fun, and the simple principle.
“It's just good to clean up after yourself and get it out of here,” she said. The reusable ornaments will be donated, others thrown away. There are multiple ways you can help, the organization does things year-round.
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