National Park Service gets rid of trash cans at national parks along G.W. Parkway

Chances are the next time you head to a national park along G.W. Parkway you'll notice something's missing - the trash cans. It is now up to visitors to take their garbage with them.{ }

Joe Parker of Arlington is a regular visitor at the Iwo Jima Memorial. He couldn't believe his eyes.

"Where my feet are at...there was a trash can right here!," he exclaimed.

According to the National Park Service, they're gone for good.

"Well, it's kind of ridiculous," said Arlington resident Charles Edgar.

The "trash-free program" aims to reduce over 380 tons of solid waste every year from the G.W. Parkway. Part of the plan includes eliminating trash cans at 27 locations, including the park sites.

Arlington resident Thomas Miller says it's important to keep our national treasures free from litter.

"I take great pride in this memorial, because I was at Iwo Jima," he said. "I sometimes will pick it up or kick it off to the side where it's less visible for people taking photographs."

Park officials say environmentally, it's the right decision. It also helps save money and time from trash removal. In the meantime, they'll provide reminders with signage and begin phasing in bag dispensers at some spots.

That works for tourist Hisham Eissa, who is visiting from Egypt.

"As long as it's empty, it's easy to keep it with you."

The same goes for a school group in town this week from Michigan.

Kathleen Falk, who traveled with the group, added, "Being aware of that, we would absolutely prepare and bring our own garbage bags and pick up after ourselves."

While these visitors have no problem going green, Parker says people are already finding other ways to get rid of the garbage.

"You see the toilet seat full of McDonald's bags, this bag and feces--and come on now!"

The National Park Service recommends visitors plan ahead before making a trip to a trash-free site. This includes bringing a trash bag and other necessary supplies.