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Sanitation company encouraging others to clean up communities

As spring weather starts to make an appearance in southern Minnesota, more people are walking, bicycling and running around the area lakes and neighborhoods — especially with more time on their hands and less places to go with Gov. Tim Walz’s stay-at-home order still in effect amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

With that extra time and added interest to get outside, Thompson Sanitation is encouraging others to help clean up their communities.

The business announced Thursday on its Facebook page that it would leave bags out near the entrances of its Clarks Grove and Austin offices. People are welcome to take the bags, fill them up with litter they find as they’re out in the communities, and then return the bags to those locations. Thompson Sanitation will then dispose of the collected litter at no charge.

Thompson Sanitation owner Frank Thompson said Steven Thisius, his maintenance manager, helped him come up with the idea after Thisius observed someone walking around picking up litter recently.

“People want to get out and move around more right now, especially after the snow melts,” Thompson said. “Now all that stuff’s visible.”

He hoped the gesture would help give people something to do that gets them outside and helps the area while staying safe within current social distancing guidelines, Thompson said.

Bags can be picked up and dropped off during business hours, which are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Thompson Sanitation locations offering the bags are at 108 N. Independence Ave. in Clarks Grove and 709 11th St. NE in Austin.

“We realize this is a small gesture, but it is hopefully one that will assure you that Thompson Sanitation will be here to serve you all through these trying times,” the business stated in its Facebook post.