Journey to a million: Jacksonville woman looking to beautify the city one piece of trash at a time

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — So far, 60,000 pieces of trash down, 940,000 to go. It’s all part of Emily Smith’s mission to clean up one million pieces of trash across the Jacksonville area.

“It started as a fitness journey. Started walking five miles a day and on those walks, I just saw a ton of trash,” Smith told Action News Jax. “And I knew it’s not my trash, but I can do something about it.”


Smith has documented her journey the entire way on TikTok and social media, picking up trash from the Northside of Jacksonville, to the Westside, to the Southside and everywhere in between. Wednesday’s stop: Fort Family Regional Park in Jacksonville’s Baymeadows neighborhood.

Every single piece of trash picked up big or small, Smith said, adds up and makes the difference, cleaning up Jacksonville one piece at a time.

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“All of that trash really just cycles right out into our oceans. It’s more than just about us,” Smith said at Wednesday’s Baymeadows cleanup. “It’s about, you know, the animals and everything that’s around and keeping our kids safe and making sure that Jacksonville is not only a beautiful place, but also a safe place to live.”

Now, Smith said it’s up to all of us to do our part and make sure we can take pride in the beauty of the city we call home.

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