LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Before the leaves start to fall from trees, volunteers with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will try and leave 6,000 miles of state highways cleaner than before, during the final Adopt-A-Highway cleanup of the year.

Dan Weingarten with MDOT said in Michigan alone, 60,000 bags of trash are collected every year- a number that wouldn’t be possible to reach without the help of dedicated volunteers, throughout the state.

“We really wouldn’t be able to keep the roadsides as clean as we do without their help,” Weingarten said.

Michigan Dept. of Transportation Adopt-A-Highway program sign. (Photo: MDOT)

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There are 100 active groups cleaning up segments of the highway in Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties, according to Weingarten. Volunteers who commit to at least two years get a sign put up in their honor.

“It’s too bad not everyone cleans up after themselves but were very lucky to have these groups; were very fortunate to have these groups going out to clean up the roadside- they perform a service that’s worth millions of dollars to the taxpayers in Michigan every year,”‘ Weingarten said. 

The majority of the trash found along state roadways includes fast food containers, plastic bags, cigarette butts, and cans – usually along heavily traveled areas.

“Don’t litter, I mean there’s no reason you can’t wait until the next trash can to throw your stuff away; throwing it out the window just makes it somebody else’s problem- again we’re fortunate to have Adopt-A-Highway volunteers to help, but it would be better if the trash wasn’t there in the first place,” Weingarten said.

Sections of highways are available for adoption all over the state.