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'Baskets for Beaches' program encourages trash clean up at Pinellas County beaches

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Posted at 4:57 PM, Nov 09, 2021

FRED HOWARD PARK, Fla. — They look like shopping baskets and they are here to hold things you buy, and things that have served their purpose. AKA: Trash.

“We pick it up a lot of times,” said Mary Robinson, who lives near Fred Howard park seasonally.

And you can too! The yellow baskets outside Fort De Soto, Sand Key, and Fred Howard Parks are here to offer a little motivation for humans who tend to be creatures of habit.

“It’s the same idea as to how we always have a recycling can next to a trash can,” said Nina Serritella, a Park Ranger at Fred Howard Park. “We want people to just go this is convenient and it’s good for the environment to let’s do it.”

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And the concept is, “The easiest it’s super easy,” Serritella said.

You can do it one of two ways: pick up a basket and bring it over to where you’re sitting and throw your trash in as you go, or if you’re taking a walk down the beach and you see trash, pick it up and put it in the basket. Then, bring it back to one of the trash cans near the parking lot and dump it.

“There’s a ton of plastic in the ocean already, we don’t need anymore,” said Robinson. “I’m a big one for the environment so keep it clean.”

“These baskets were the brainchild of county commissioner Rene Flowers,” said Serritella.

The idea came from a busy 2020 when so many folks were finding solace on the sand and in the water, a safe, open-air spot for folks during COVID. But, with that, came a lot more trash.

“We were jam-packed, there are about 400 and something parking spaces on the island, every single space was full,” Serritella said. “We had to empty the trash cans constantly.”

It’s why they hope folks will begin to pick up baskets as they arrive and drop them off when they leave to help keep the beaches clean.

“It’s our beach you should take care of it so everybody can enjoy it,” Robinson said.