The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

To keep Arlington’s Iwo Jima memorial trash free, trash cans are removed by the park service

The sun rises behind the Iwo Jima Memorial  in Arlington. Hopefully trash will not begin rising below. (Mark Wilson – Getty Images)
Placeholder while article actions load

It may seem counterintuitive to some, but in order to keep the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington less cluttered with trash, the National Park Service has removed the trash cans.

The ever-vigilant folks at ARLNow.Com reported this the other day, and said cans had also been removed from the Netherlands Carillon, Roosevelt Island, the LBJ Memorial Grove and the Roaches Run waterfowl sanctuary. And according to a memo explaining the “Trash Free Park” concept, the park service said cans are going to be removed this year from Great Falls Park, Turkey Run Park, two George Washington Memorial Parkway Overlooks, Fort Marcy and Daingerfield Island.

The cans are being removed, the park service said, because “visitors are expected to carry out the refuse they generate and dispose of it properly at home or at another appropriate destination.” The goal is “fostering a partnership between visitors and the parks by encouraging all visitors to help maintain clean parks, reduce solid waste within the park, and embrace the ideas of reduce, reuse, and recycle.”

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park, Prince William Forest Park, Catoctin Mountain Park and Monocacy National Battlefield apparently already have trash-free programs. Statistics show between an 80 and 95 percent rate of people responsibly removing their own refuse, the park service says, which means the park generates less trash, spends less energy on trash and spends less employee time dealing with trash.

The most popular comment by far on’s article came from Tower Man, who said: “Oh yes, this strategy will work perfectly. Nobody will just throw their trash on the ground because they can’t find a trash can. No sir. Not a chance of that.”