ORANGEBURG, S.C. — Longtime Orangeburg resident Pat Milhouse has been picking up trash in the neighborhood for about seven years. He says he was bothered by seeing how much trash accumulates along the side of the road.
“You just ride down the roads and look at all the trash and think what if I pick that piece of trash up? The county or somebody cuts it up with the lawnmower and you got 50 pieces instead of one piece. It don’t take a whole lot to make a mess," he said.
It's been keeping him busy in retirement. Milhouse formerly worked at Greenwood Mills for about 27 years and served about 10 years on the Orangeburg County Disabilities and Special Needs Board. He says picking up the trash comes with its rewards.
“I don’t have to pay 10 dollars a month to go exercise. Sometimes I find little treasures. I found 15 cents this morning," said Milhouse.
It's become part of his daily routine. He picks up about 10 bags of trash a week. Most of this trash is food wrappers, cigarettes, and other waste.
Annually, he picks up about 300 pounds of cans. Along the way, he's even inspired others to do the same.
“I was at the doctor’s office one time. They said I saw you picking up trash, I decided to get off my butt and go out and pick up trash around my neighborhood. So, people see it and maybe they’ll start picking up trash. If you keep your neighborhood clean, that’s half the problem solved," he said.
He's gotten supplies like trash bags and grabbers from Palmetto Pride to help with his efforts. He and his wife Roxie say picking up one piece at a time goes a long way.
“We’re trying to get a lot more businesses here and we don’t want people to come in and say well that’s a trashy looking place, so take pride in your community," said Roxie.