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Making a Difference: "Trash Talkers" are keeping things clean

Trash Talkers Group founders Jill Pfeiffer and Fred Svensson.
Trash Talkers Group founders Jill Pfeiffer and Fred Svensson.(NBC15)
Published: Aug. 28, 2019 at 8:33 PM CDT
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A few years back, Fred Svensson of Madison was frustrated by all of the litter at the park near his house on Madison's East side. Instead of complaining, he did something about it. He started picking up all of the litter until he had bags full of it.

From that point on, he and his friend Jill Pfeiffer, who had also been busy cleaning up litter around town with her family, started to walk regularly and not only pick up trash, they were talking trash...and how to reduce it. Pfeiffer's friend, Jen Lynch, also joined the effort.

While cleaning up litter along the Law Park shoreline recently, Pfeiffer said, "I live near the lake in a city surrounded by water. It's sort of something I do for me, but also for my community, and for Mother Nature." She added, "We're just encouraging people to think about how much trash they're making, and how much single use plastic they're consuming. It will be on the planet for hundreds of years."

Svensson said it's gratifying seeing the before and after difference a little bit of litter pick-up can make. "I feel a sense of accomplishment...like I did something that had an effect. It can give you the sense that things will get better somehow."

They were inspired to create a Facebook page called "Trash Talkers Group", on which others share their own litter clean-up stories. It now has more than 500 members, who post their own clean up pictures, as well as articles on recycling and reducing waste. (There's a link to the Trash Talkers Group Facebook page attached to this article).

Svensson and Pfeiffer are quite passionate about the project, often heading out with friends or family to clean up litter. Svensson said it always lifts his spirits, and he encouraged others to do it. "Get involved, and do something, and feel gratified having done it. Just pick up stuff on your street, rather than complaining about it. Complaining is negative, and picking it up is positive."

Pfeiffer added, “We spend so much time taking from the planet. Picking up trash and reducing our footprint is one way we can give to the planet.”

More than 500 strong, they're making a difference, keeping it clean...by talking trash.