MILWAUKIE, Ore. — Dozens of volunteers picked up hundreds of pounds of trash Thursday morning in the Three Creeks Natural Area in Milwaukie.

The trash pick-up marked the first of 70 Solve Summer Waterway Cleanups that will take place over the next three months.

On Thursday, about 50 volunteers cleaned up the natural area that runs right along Mount Scott Creek. They picked up about 750 pounds of trash. Organizers said much of the litter picked up was left behind from illegal campsites.

A lot of the litter was cigarette butts and plastics, which often wind up in the creeks, impacting fish and wildlife.

Some of the trash that was picked up, including discarded cigarette butts
Some of the trash that was picked up, including discarded cigarette butts
Keely Chalmers

"If we don't pick up these cigarette butts and wrappers and pieces of plastic and straws, they're going to end up in the waterways," said SOLVE program director Quintin Bauer. "Birds and other animals, they're either going to eat those or get caught up in them and they'll die from that eventually."

The most common kind of trash found during cleanups are cigarette butts, which people might not understand are not biodegradable. That's because the filters are often made from plastic.

All the cigarette butts collected by SOLVE do not end up in the landfill. Instead, the tobacco is composted and the paper and plastic are recycled.