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'Take A Bag, Leave A Bag': Minneapolis Woman Launches Initiative To Keep Neighborhood Clean

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A Minneapolis woman came up with a way to keep her neighborhood clean, hopefully with the help of her neighbors.

Bothered by the litter lining her block, Mariah Weitzenkamp created a mini-trash bag station outside her home.

"You don't get very far without picking up cigarette butts," said Weitzenkamp.

On a quick stroll through her Lowry Hill East neighborhood, Weitzenkamp keeps her eyes to the ground -- determined to keep her block clean.

"There's a lot of pride that people take in their community by keeping it clean," said Weitzenkamp.  "It looks nicer, feels nicer."

She's clearly not afraid to get her hands dirty, but Weitzenkamp knows not everyone feels the same way.

"It's like this moment of hesitation, you don't really want to touch it, you don't really want to carry it anywhere," explained Weitzenkamp.

So she created this"take a bag, leave a bag" station, made out of a recycled milk jug, filled with plastic bags you might find at the grocery store.

"We reuse bread bags and cereal bags often," said Weitzenkamp.

The hope is that if people are walking by they'll grab a bag and pick up some garbage, which unfortunately isn't that hard to find.

Or, simply leave a plastic bag in the jug for others to use.

"Basically just take some responsibility for the trash in the neighborhood," said Weitzenkamp.

In a short trip down Emerson, Weitzenkamp found cans, wrappers -- you name it.

A small amount of effort that with the help of others can yield big results.

"It feels like you're in a place that people care about," said Weitzenkamp.

Weitzenkamp already has neighbors on other blocks asking her to make make a trash bag container for them.

To get in contact with Mariah, you can email her at

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