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For 200 Hours Each Year, This Man Picks Up Litter in Alachua County

Alex Rosenzweig at the Keep America Beautiful event in Dallas. (Courtesy of Keep Alachua County Beautiful)
Alex Rosenzweig at the Keep America Beautiful event in Dallas. (Courtesy of Keep Alachua County Beautiful)

Alex Rosenzweig is a familiar face on the streets of Alachua County, picking up litter to help keep his community clean and beautiful.

He is a 23-year-old diagnosed with cerebral palsy, but does not let his setbacks stop him from doing what he is passionate about. Rosenzweig collects litter on a weekly basis — totaling more than 200 hours each year, according to Keep Alachua County Beautiful.

Rosenzweig’s hard work in January earned him and 31 other nominees across America with the nationally recognized Keep America Beautiful Youth and Education Award.

Because of a donation made by WCA waste management to Keep Alachua County Beautiful, Rosenzweig’s family was able to join him in Dallas for the award ceremony.

According to Keep Alachua County Beautiful, his twin brother Ryan Rosenzweig said Alex has always had a unique interest for recycling and trash.

“Ever since we were little, he use to follow the trash men around, play with the garbage cans and know which days they would come and recycle,” Ryan Rosenzweig said.  

Gina Hawkins, Executive Director of Keep Alachua County Beautiful, first discovered Alex through a Facebook post where he was explaining his passion for recycling.

“When I saw Alex in this little video, I felt like I wasn’t doing enough,” Hawkins said. “He’s so enthusiastic about recycling, it’s infectious. After you talk to him, you want to do the right thing.”

Hawkins said she was one of the people at Keep Alachua County Beautiful who nominated Rosenzweig for this award.

“Alex was just a stand out, it was obvious we should nominate him,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins said she was able to attend the conference in Dallas with Rosenzweig to see him receive his award.

“They had everything there (the conference). Waste Management, recycling, it was my dream come true there,” Alex Rosenzweig said.

He said he hopes to one day get to work for a company where he can use his love for recycling.

“I'm just going around Gainesville and picking up trash, making it clean, but maybe in the future work with a company like WCA, Wastepro, any of them,” Rosenzweig said.

The people who support Alex see a bright future for him.

“He’s such a hard worker and he’s so passionate and dedicated to what he loves,” his brother said.

Alex Rosenzweig hopes his commitment to his passion will make a lasting impact.

“I want to save the world… and keep trash out of landfills,” he said.