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Spring cleanup officially underway in City of Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- "Raise your hand if you like to play in a pile of garbage," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett asks a group of children at the Next Door Foundation.

The Mayor received a resounding, "No!"

Of course, no child wants to play in garbage.

That's why city officials are asking you to pitch in and help with Milwaukee's community wide clean-up.

"Citizen volunteers can go out into neighborhoods and make sure that our city is clean so that kids can play, so adults can walk, and so we can appreciate our beautiful city," says Mayor Barrett.

In years past, the Mayor and area school children kicked-off the first day of spring by heading outdoors to pick up trash.

But with the winter-like temperatures, Mayor Barrett says they're going to wait until what he calls the "garbage lasagna" melts.

"You have snow, you have garbage, you have snow, you have garbage," says Mayor Barrett.

But once that snow is gone, you have a problem.

The city and the organization Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful is encouraging people to host neighborhood clean-up groups.

These crews can use the free "borrow a tool program," which include trash bags, gloves, rakes, and grabbers.

"The grabbers are the ones that save the back and help you pick up some items out there," says Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful Executive Director Joe Wilson.

Volunteers are also rewarded with a thank you coupon.

"There`s a free admission to the zoo, there`s a free admission to the swimming pools, there`s admissions to par three golf courses buy one get one free," says Wilson.

But the greatest reward is knowing you made a difference in making your city clean and safe.

For more information on coordinating a neighborhood clean-up or using the borrow a tool program you can log onto http://www/

Here are some smart action-steps the city says people can take to prevent a potential garbage problem:

1. Save the space in your garbage cart for food scraps and edible waste. This is potential food for rodents. Deny the rodent or raccoon his dinner and he won’t be back for breakfast. Garbage first, everything else, second in the cart.

2. Keep the lid shut. Deny rodents access to food. Properly wrap waste to prevent animals from accessing it. If there are significant chew holes in the green cart or damage, call 414-286-8282 for a replacement.

3. Flush the food. Rinse food containers and flush small semi-solids and liquid waste down the toilet. Minimize the food waste in the garbage that can become food for animals. The smell of food attracts animals.

4. Paper and plastic. Put cardboard and plastic in blue Recycle cart. If no room, place them on top of the cart on recycle collection day. All other garbage should be put in your green garbage cart.

5. Make it smaller. Crush and compress large containers to maximize space in the cart.

6. If it’s in YOUR yard, it’s YOUR problem. Regardless of where the garbage or litter came from or whose turn it is to clean up, the yard has to be clean. Landlords will have to pay the cleanup charge and tenants can face possible eviction for creating a nuisance on the property.

7. Help a neighbor. If you are angry about the mess, think what the neighborhood will look like in summer. Set a good example. A simple act of picking it up will improve the situation and your outlook on the neighborhood.

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