'On the weekends the tourists come out and they don't care and so they just leave it (garbage). It's a sad thing. I mean, it's really sad,' he said.
A man from Galveston,Texas, is reversing the irresponsible actions of litterbugs at the beach with his custom-built Litter Buggies, an innovative remote-controlled trash can that he created. Glenn Morris, a mechanical designer who makes parts and accessories for wheelchairs, spends most early mornings and weekends strolling along his local beaches equipped with a trash grabber he constructed and his litter buggy to collect the trash left behind by beachgoers. "They are basically radio-controlled trash cans," Morris told CBS affiliate KHOU 11 in 2020. "A lot of folks wonder what they are. Kids follow us around. Last summer we had kids that followed us an eighth of a mile down the beach before their parents realized and we needed to turn them around!"
According to Houston Chronicle, Morris' Litter Buggies are essentially reconfigured Traxxas remote-control cars with attached buckets on top to carry discarded clothes, plastic bottles, dirty diapers and other waste that people leave behind on beaches. "There are an estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean that have significant impacts on marine life and are shifting ecosystems for the worse. This number is expected to double within the next ten years," the Litter Buggies website states.
"To do our part, we use RC (remote controlled) cars to more efficiently pick up trash on various beaches. We hope to expand our little hobby into a larger movement, with the goal to make as big of a difference as possible," it adds. "This group was created to start open discussions on alternative uses for RC cars, the environmental impacts of trash in the oceans, meeting new people through beach cleanups, etc." The saltwater-proof machines can reportedly travel up to 4 miles an hour and run 2 to 4 miles at a time. Speaking to KPRC 2, Morris revealed that he picks up more than 50 gallons a week.
"I'm usually there before the city crews start doing their pickup," he said. "It’s usually less work for them." Over the years, Morris has built a huge following on social media—over 240,000 followers on TikTok—where he posts regular updates about his beach cleaning efforts and updates about Litter Buggies. "I don't know if it inspires people or guilts people into picking up the trash," he said. "When I walk through an area... people see what I'm picking up, especially if it's really obvious that I'm picking up trash. I have seen moms (telling) their kids to start picking up the stuff (that's) flying around their area (after I walk through.)"
"On the weekends the tourists come out and they don't care and so they just leave it (garbage). It's a sad thing. I mean, it's really sad," Morris said. "A couple of days ago we were out there and I guess we came upon a campsite and it was just covered in beer bottles. Kids are going to run out there on that beach and just cut their feet all up." There is a growing demand for Morris' Litter Buggies from people wanting to clean their local beaches. His handmade creations—for which he charges between $1,300 and $2,500 depending on the version—can now be found in Webster, Port Bolivar and San Luis Pass and will soon spread outside of the Lone Star State.
Morris has also shared the details of his Litter Buggy with an engineer in London, who hopes to replicate it. Meanwhile, another contractor in Indiana hopes to build one to help with construction work. "It got more attention than I thought I would, because in my mind, I'm just a guy walking around and picking up trash," he said of the overwhelmingly positive response he has received. Morris, who is from the Texas Hill Country and moved to Galveston about two years ago when his job switched to remote working, shared that he will continue his trash expeditions in Galveston for a few more years while his wife finishes her college degree program on the island.