What comes to your mind, when you hear the term “spring cleaning”? Cleaning your house or apartment more thoroughly than usual, e.g. also behind the cupboard? At least that’s what came to my mind when I first heard about Spring Cleaning a.k.a. “Community Clean-Up” in Heidelberg.
What it turned out to be was that you meet moderately early (10am is early on a weekend, isn’t it?) with a bunch of locals at an announced location, get a warning vest, gloves, a plastic bag and a gripper. And then you set off and collect garbage. We did this twice during this year’s clean-up (it almost seems to be a tradition here for at least a couple of years): first up in the locals woods around Köningstuhl and the second time in the new district next to our own.
When we were out there picking up cigarette butts (smokers really aren’t tidy people, are they? Seriously, there were so many of those “bastards”, as my wife called them … we’re talking about the cigarette butts 😉 ), glass bottles and trash from the local fast food restaurant, people asked us if we were workers from the town council or – half joking? – if we were doing community service. True, it looked very much like the tasks you would have to do as a punishment. And we were very much tempted to say something like “Yeah, I got caught throwing a cigeratte butt on the street … it was either this or paying a big fine …”. We didn’t but well, next year maybe … Anyway, just to avoid any misunderstanding: we were volunteers!
It is definitely a good exercise – it opens your eyes to the trash flying around on the streets. And that way, one is more aware of the garbage on the streets. Looking on the ground for about two hours and scanning it for candy wrappers and the ever present cigarette butts does that to you.
All in all, it was definitely a lot of fun and I’m sure we’ll be taking part again next year!