Hundreds turn out for Community Trash-Off; Orange leaders seeking even more next time

Published 12:06 am Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

More than 250 people turned out for Saturday’s 28th annual Community Trash-Off, and they were kept plenty busy during a spread out approach to dent litter’s negative impact across Orange County.

Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center hosted this year’s Community Trash-Off in collaboration with the City of Orange.

Shangri La’s Melinda Jackson was one of the lead organizers handling logistical needs.

Katie Krantz, of Shangri La Botanical who provided additional big picture support, said more than 20 abandoned tires were collected and approximately 60 cubic tons of trash.

“Ideally, we would like not to have a trash off,” Krantz said. “We want people to not litter. As that continues and we know it continues, having collaborative support and more and more people coming out, is what I would like to see.”

According to Krantz , it was wonderful to see multiple communities come together for one event.

“They are invested in the places they live,” she said. “They want it to be a nice area. We want people to come into Orange, West Orange and Pinehurst and there not be litter lining the street.

“We realize it is only a temporary fix, but it is nice that we have allies willing to join us in the ongoing fight against litter.”

West Orange City Councilwoman Meritta Kennedy participated in this weekend event, saying it went wonderfully due to an excellent turnout of volunteers throughout the county.

She was amazed to see how much litter was picked up.

“You see it going down the roads, but you don’t really grasp the concept until you see all the bags of trash,” she said.

“I have lived in this community all my life and seen it through disasters and hurricanes. It is time to see it renew and revitalize. I have a compassion for my community, the communities around me and the children.”

Kennedy was recently named chair of the board for Keep Orange County Beautiful.

“Short term, I would like to see more people come on board with our board of directors,” Kennedy said. “We are working on that right now and are incorporating two more at our next meeting. I am actively looking for more that are interested as far as city leaders in other cities and communities such as Pine Forest, Vidor and Bridge City.

“I would like to see more involvement by city leaders and private sector. The long-term goal is to establish awareness of the problem we face and ways to combat these problems not only for us but future generations to come.”

Keep Orange County Beautiful has been active in Orange County since 1997. More information can be found at

Orange County residents who participated in this weekend’s Community Trash-Off enjoyed a free pizza lunch after the event.

INVISTA was a Presenting Sponsor this year.