BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — Up and down South Florida, garbage can be found along our streets, parking lots, and sidewalks.
A Boynton Beach man and his group of volunteers, known as the "Litter Hikers of America," are trying to reverse the trend to create a litter-free environment.
Sunrises in sunny South Florida are a special moment.
"Really nice and calming for me. I enjoy it," said Richard Reyes. "This is my coffee right here."
Reyes takes it in every morning before checking his tools, supplies, and his route for the day.
"Going to be a very good day. Hope to get lots of litter," said Reyes.
On this day, he and his crew were on Federal Highway in Boynton Beach.
"When I walk, I do the median and crew does the sides," said Reyes, who was joined by his friends Suzie and Shawn.
They have quite a few fans. The three of them search the streets, sidewalks, and parking lots.
"I have a facemask, gloves," said Reyes as he picked up trash.
There are bad surprises and sometimes good. On this day the Publix parking lot was clean.
No matter the weather, Reyes is out there.
"Six times a week. Sometimes seven," said Reyes.
Reyes has been picking up trash since his days on the west coast of Florida, back when life threw him a curveball.
"Aortic valve replacement and an aneurism repaired," said Reyes.
Following his recovery, Reyes started walking and gathering trash.
"I can’t go long distances like I used to. So walking is very healthy for me and that’s a big reason why I do it," said Reyes. "I came out here and continue the effort in Boynton Beach."
At the end of his clean ups, he weighs his garbage. He collects data too.
"43,200 pounds of litter this year," said Reyes.
Proof that Reyes has a long journey ahead of him, but he knows each step along South Florida’s streets, inches him closer to his goal. A goal of a clean, litter-free environment.
"Call it a sport if you will. Walking, stretching, picking up litter. Can’t beat it," said Reyes.
Reyes is now retired and plans to do his clean-ups as long as he can. He said anybody can join him bright and early when he picks up trash.