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Looking for the Helpers: 8-year-old “Trash Buster” works to keep Santa Maria clean

Angie Guerrero
8-year-old "Trash Buster" Michael Guerrero keeps Santa Maria clean

As our area is faced with ongoing changes due to a growing pandemic, we are bringing stories of people doing good in the community during a time of uncertainty.

Help us look for the helpers!

8-year-old "Trash Buster" keeps Santa Maria clean

When a Santa Maria park needs cleaning, who ya gonna call?

8-years-old Michael Guerrero is taking to the streets of Santa Maria to combat trash left in public spaces.

He calls himself the "Trash Buster," a name inspired by one of his favorite movies.

Recently, Michael was playing at a community park with his dad and sister and noticed trash throughout the area. This did not sit well with the third grader, so he went home to pick up gloves and a bag then returned to the park to pick up litter.

Michael told his mother, Angie, that he was cleaning the park because he simply wanted it to look "nice." His mother soon realized, this would not be a one-time occurrence.

Michael wanted to expand on his effort by raising money for more cleaning supplies, like gloves and a trash grabber. He started separating the recyclable items from the trash to turn in for money.

His idea really took shape when he came up with his company name "Trash Buster" and drew a logo on paper that he taped on his shirt to wear while cleaning the park.

His mother had the logo printed on a shirt, which fueled his fire even more.

Michael is now on a mission to make more shirts for other kids to join his team to keep Santa Maria clean.

He is collecting donations to purchase the 'uniforms' and supplies for the crew, and his mother says, if he has extra money he may even buy himself a new toy.

The City of Santa Maria caught wind of Michael's efforts and awarded him a Certificate of Appreciation for his hard work.

Michael was particularly pleased with the bonus safety vest he received as well, and wears it proudly around town.

If you would like to purchase a "Trash Buster" shirt, or make a donation, email

Article Topic Follows: Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County

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Genelle Padilla


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