TRU’s 2020 Trash Bash extended to include the surrounding community.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic inspired organizers to reimagine the 23rd annual event.

Dozens of people joined in across the city in the 2020 Trash Bash. (Submitted)

TRU Sustainability Office encouraged students, staff, and faculty to get out and pick up trash, Nov. 1, whether on campus or elsewhere.

Organizers were inspired to resurrect the previously postponed 23rd annual TRU Trash Bash and invited the surrounding community to join in on Sun. In partnership with the City of Kamloops, TRU Sustainability Office hosted the city’s first-ever Kamloops Community Trash Bash over the weekend.

After having to postpone the event in May because of the pandemic, Environmental Programs and Research Coordinator James Gordon said the Sustainability Office “resurrected [Trash Bash]… because it is a popular event and the need to clean up campus has not diminished because of COVID-19, although there is less trash on campus than in the past because there are fewer people.” Gordon commented that by opening the event to the greater Kamloops community, he had hoped to get more people involved.

“Cleaning up garbage is kind of a universal thing,” Gordon said. “Whether people intentionally litter or things get blown around, there is just stuff in and around the community of Kamloops and elsewhere that people could clean up.”

Not only does Trash Bash help to beautify the community, Gordon said, but it also helps to keep trash out of waterways. “Because of the nature of gravity, x amount of waste often reaches the lowest natural point, and for ourselves and other communities who live in river valleys, that lowest point is usually the river.”

As you might suspect, waste that reaches the river then makes its way to the ocean. Because a lot of trash is plastic trash, which does not biodegrade, it can be detrimental to aquatic life once it gets into our waterways.

“You hear stories about turtles with straws up their noses or whales who have eaten plastic shopping bags,” Gordon said. “So, not only does [trash bash] help to beautify our communities, but it helps to protect wildlife as well.”

Individuals participated in Trash Bash both officially and unofficially on Nov. 1. Gordon said, “near two dozen individuals pre-registered for the event by email,” while a handful of other individuals participated independently. Those who pre-registered by email could earn prizes for the best team name, most trash bashed, and most bizarre pieces of trash picked up.

Participants were also encouraged to stay COVID-conscious by only picking up trash within their pods or by themselves.

Gordon stated that individuals should wear gloves while picking up garbage to avoid the transmission of COVID-19 and should wear masks if participating with others. He suggested participants wash their hands both during and after the event or “really, anytime after picking up trash.”

He also requested anyone who participated please recycle any recyclables found while at Trash Bash at either their home or the bottle depot if need be. Do not bring found recyclables to TRU. He also suggested participants leave behind sharp items like needles or anything too heavy to avoid injuries.