Interns collect baseline data for AshTray project in Downtown Oakland!


This past weekend Earth Team interns partnered up with Downtown Oakland Association to create meaningful change to the streets of Downtown! Andrew Jones, Program Director for DOA, and his son, joined our team conducting a cig survey using our Marine Debris Tracker App.


Downtown Oakland Association has plans to decrease the amount of cigarette buds that are thrown on the streets by implementing ashtrays in high traffic, bar scene areas. These won’t just be any ashtrays, but SPECIAL ones!

An organization called TerraCycle will provide Downtown Oakland with ashtrays and swing by regularly to clear them out. TerraCycle is an innovative recycling company that has become a global leader in recycling hard-to-recycle waste. Instead of the cig buds going towards their normal destination, the landfill, TerraCycle will use a special process to convert the buds back into everyday products.

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Interns collected over 1500 cigarette buds, which are covered under “plastic” on our ZeroLitter Map. This data will be analyzed and set as the baseline as the project continues to unfold. Once the ashtrays are in place, interns will report back to monitor the same area and access progress.

Check out what our interns had to say!

My favorite part of the day was being able to wake up early in the morning and being able to absorb the sunshine, which i usually do not do. Walking around downtown Oakland and picking up trash felt rewarding because people would talk to us and gave us their appreciation on doing something for the community. But the most challenging part of the day was having to handle the smell of all the trash collected.

Written By: Julian 

My favorite part of the day was being rewarded with appreciation from people who were nearby. I felt very honored to be able to be part of this because there was a lot of trash that was picked up in downtown. The most challenging part was also being able to handle the smell of the trash.

Written By: Huong 

My favorite part of the day was being able to walk around downtown Oakland in the sunny morning. By interacting in the community made me feel like I am doing the right thing not just in my community, but in the world by picking up trash. It may not be a lot, but it made a difference. The most challenging part would have to be the smell of the trash that was picked up.

Written By: Kelly 

Thank you for reading! 



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