Spring into Action with the Great American Cleanup

Each year, Keep America Beautiful(KAB)’s Great American Cleanup runs from the start of spring through late June, encouraging groups to plan large-scale cleanups within their communities. In its 24th year, the cleanup takes place along roadways and streams, in parks and in forests, public and private property — anywhere in your neighborhood that you can envision a cleaner place for the community to take pride in.

Here in Pennsylvania, the Pickup PA program through Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful (KPB) complements the Great American Cleanup and concentrates efforts on a localized scale. Through the month of April, donated landfill space for trash collected during cleanups was available for free or reduced cost at many facilities. PennDOT also helps to provide materials like gloves, bags, and safety vests for all cleanup events that are registered on the Keep PA Beautiful website.

In Northeastern PA, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council has its own affiliation with KAB and KPB. This affiliation, Keep Northeastern Pennsylvania Beautiful, covers six counties in NEPA – Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Monroe, Susquehanna, and Wyoming counties. Although it has been a slow 2 years due to COVID, cleanup programs are off to a great start this year. In fact, Keep NEPA Beautiful has partnered with a local group, the Wilkes-Barre Worker Bees, and has already earned a grant to plant trees in urban parks in Wilkes-Barre.

The programs don’t stop there! In the fall, KPB supports the International Coastal Cleanup from September 1- November 30. Although there is no donated landfill space, this event is also eligible for free supplies and the weather is usually perfect for cleanups! This year, Keep NEPA Beautiful plans to participate with a sun-up-to-sundown cleanup within their communities on National Cleanup Day: September 17, 2022. Keep an eye on their Facebook for more information about upcoming cleanup opportunities.

There are no KPB events in the Summer or Winter, but that doesn’t have to stop you! Throughout the year, your organization can adopt a road and schedule regular cleanup projects to keep litter to a minimum. State roads are adoptable through PennDOT and local municipal roads can be adopted through the Keep PA Beautiful website! Keep NEPA Beautiful also supports the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program year-round. According to a 2020 Pennsylvania Litter Survey, cigarette butts are the most littered item along roadways. In response to this, the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program was implemented through Terracycle’s Cigarette Waste Recycling Program with grant funding from KAB. The program has been implemented in 35 of the 121 state parks with an overall, combined cigarette litter reduction rate of 67%. KPB also supports programs involving community greening, invasive species management, education, and other beautification projects that communities are interested in spearheading.

Whatever your group is doing this year, make sure to register your event on KPB’s website for your free resources and use the hashtag #DoBeautifulThings on social media!