SLC siblings use Tik Tok to encourage trash cleanups
SALT LAKE CITY – A sibling in Rose Park spreads inspiration and a positive message through their unusual videos on Tik Tok. The videos have started and some have received tens of thousands of views.
It’s not your average tik tok challenge.
Julio and Cristal Lopez record trash and drug needles they find in their community. You wouldn’t expect fun songs like “Ice Ice Baby” or “I Ran (So Far Away)” to be paired with these images. But it’s what Julio and Cristal do with this junk that makes the difference.
Tuesday afternoon the temperatures felt like spring. Children were running around the playground in Cottonwood Park, Salt Lake City, and the sun was shining brightly over them.
Julio and Cristal come to Cottonwood Park at least once or twice a week. But Julio won’t bring his little daughter with him.
“All the trash, all the needles, all that,” he said of what he sees on the floor. “My daughter wasn’t in the park. Neither was my dog.”
The 27-year-old and 13-year-old brother and 13-year-old sister have made it their business to get rid of all the trash.
“I thought it was disgusting,” said Cristal of what she finds. “Like, who would throw random trash in the park? Children play here.”
The two began their routine cleanup about six months ago. Their weekly pickups turned into a different project when Julio created the “Green SLC” social media accounts on Tik Tok and Facebook.
With Cristal behind the camera, they started documenting their cleanup and recording the not-so-family-friendly things they found.
On Tuesday, Julio pointed out used needles by the sidewalk, and he used a gripper to pull a bra and lingerie out of the grass.
Cristal has made recordings that Julio will then convert into a tik tok that is timed to match music.
The dozen of videos on Green SLC’s account also show the couple’s clean-up operations outside of Rose Park, which extends across Glendale and downtown SLC.
They clearly provide inspiration as people from around the world watch the selfless acts of community service.
Julio said others comment on the videos that they too want to clean up their neighborhoods. Others have told Julio that he and Cristal need to come to their communities.
He’s also seen some community members step in with donations to support the couple’s efforts. The general manager of Sutherlands, Julio said, donated the garbage collectors and buckets.
A woman who saw the Tik Tok videos on Facebook donated 50 Biohazard Sharps containers to safely dispose of the needles.
Julio says he’s doing all of this for his daughter so she can enjoy the park. But he and Cristal also do this in the hope that it will inspire others to make their neighborhood a better place.
“I hope this could be the spark that makes you change, that makes you make that difference,” said Julio.
When Julio and Cristal were standing with their buckets and claws on Tuesday, a woman and her son came up to them to talk to them.
She clearly noted the work of the two and expressed how grateful she was.
“I just wanted to thank you for doing this. Because nobody else is. Nobody else,” she said.
“Exactly,” replied Julio. “We’re trying to get it, so people start.”