The Great American Cleanup®, which marks its 22nd year in 2020, prompts individuals to take greater responsibility for their local environment by conducting or participating in grassroots community service projects.
After suspending the Great American Cleanup (GAC) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Keep America Beautiful rescheduled the signature community improvement program, now taking place through Oct. 18. As the country begins to reopen and individuals are getting back to spending time outdoors, it is as important as ever to help end litter across the nation. When cleaning up outside, be sure to follow federal, state, and local health guidelines.
Here are some of the ways to get involved in the GAC and make a difference in local communities:
- Sign up to be a volunteer. Keep America Beautiful has launched a new volunteer portal. This portal is your path to engaging with affiliates near you and positively impacting the place where you live, work, and play. Click here to register as a volunteer. If there are no volunteer events near you, click here to find your local affiliate to learn about other ways to get involved.
- Set a goal to pick up litter for just 15 minutes each day. Start with just one week or month. Litter is costly to clean up, impacts our quality of life and economic development, and eventually can end up in our waterways and oceans. By picking up litter around your home, work, or local park every day, you can help keep your community clean and create change.
- Keep storm drains clear of litter and debris. Wind and rainfall can sweep litter and debris into local storm drain systems, which empty out to the waterways unfiltered and untreated. You can help by clearing storm drains on your own block. Several Keep America Beautiful affiliates also place stencils or markers on storm drains to serve as a reminder to others not to dump debris or other items into that drain, which leads to waterways.
- Plant native. Native trees, for instance, can benefit local wildlife, moderate ground temperature, and remove carbon dioxide from the air. For instance, Keep Omaha Beautiful has planted over 1,900 trees throughout 36 local parks as part of an initiative to plant diverse stock native trees to improve the resilience of the city’s tree canopy and withstand future invasive pests.
- Secure your loads. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2016 that there were more than 19,000 injuries related to unsecured loads and road debris. Do your part by properly securing and covering your load before hitting the road.
Click here for the full list of 20 ways you can participate in the Great American Cleanup.
The 2020 Great American Cleanup National Sponsors include Altria, Better Natured™, Diageo, Dow, The Glad Products Company, Igloo®, Niagara Bottling, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company.