‘Publix Serves’ up Trash Trout litter

Employees of the New Bern Publix descended upon Duffyfield Canal last week to clean out the Trash Trout.

The event was part of Publix Serves, an annual service day for employees, and the second year the grocery store has partnered with Sound Rivers. Last year, a clean-up was held on the banks of the Trent River at Lawson Creek Park. This year, Publix employees got an introduction to a statewide microplastics monitoring project and Sound Rivers’ Trash Trouts, floating litter-trapping devices installed on small, urban waterways.

“They thought the Trash Trout was really cool — the Trout itself, and they thought the project was really interesting,” said Sound Rivers’ Staff Scientist Katy Hunt. “They asked we if could get more of these installed to really limit the plastics pollution.”

Katy and Neuse Riverkeeper Samantha Krop were on hand for the event, which provided a view into the issue of macroplastics breaking down into microplastics in the water.

“It wasn’t just a clean-out; it was also an audit to figure out what trash was in there,” Katy said. “So it was eye-opening for them to see what kinds of litter are making their way into our waterways.”

Sam said there were some interesting finds: “We found a baby doll comb for our growing baby-doll-parts collection and some pretty nice-looking sports shoes for a child,” Sam said. “We found a pretty handy container that we could use to hold the other parts and pieces. Definitely, by far, the most we found was small pieces of plastics, which I thought was interesting because of the study we’re doing, and it’s becoming really clear that plastics plague our rivers and creeks.”

Sound Rivers thanks Publix and the Publix employees who took advantage of a service day to empty out the Trash Trout and learn more about Sound Rivers’ Work. We love these kinds of partnerships!