Keep America Beautiful is celebrating the Great American Cleanup’s 23rd year in 2021, between March 20th to June 20th. As the country continues to deal with the pandemic, it is as important as ever to help end litter across our great nation. This means that we should all make sure that waste (including PPE) gets placed in the trash and we all recycle based on local capabilities.
Regarding litter collection, Great American Cleanup event organizers have been provided clear guidance to ensure that volunteer health is our first priority. All cleanups should adhere to guidelines from federal, state, and local public health officials so timely and accurate information can guide safe and appropriate activities in each location.
The Great American Cleanup®, the nation’s largest community improvement program, engaged more than 550,000 volunteers and participants in 2019 to create positive change and lasting impact in their local communities.
Register below to join a Great American Cleanup event near you.
Local affiliates and partnering organizations, volunteers and corporate sponsors play a key role in the success of the Great American Cleanup.
The Great American Cleanup offers structured service projects to measure changes in littering behavior and heighten awareness about the benefits of caring for the environment through organized volunteer events, employee engagement opportunities, and experiential education in more than 15,000 communities across America.
GAC 2021 Overview
2021 brings some new and continued opportunities to GAC:
- Partnership with Earth Day: Keep America Beautiful and Earth Day Network (EDN) have a long history of partnership. Earth Day (April 22) is always a great moment to remind people about the importance of their community environment and an opportunity to “act locally while thinking globally” through a Keep America Beautiful event. Keep America Beautiful will continue to support Earth Day’s “Great Global Cleanup™” in the U.S. It is expected that the GAC will be the single largest contributor to Earth Day’s Great Global cleanup.
- Litter Cleanups: Keep America Beautiful will promote small scale physically distant or “small pod” collection events adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols from the CDC.
- Enhanced volunteer experience: Keep America Beautiful has a volunteer website that streamlines the volunteer experience for our affiliates and creates consistency across our affiliates regarding waivers, releases, and volunteer information. The site is used to register events and serves as a coordinating and recruitment resource for volunteer and employee engagement.
- Sampling Protocol: Keep America Beautiful Affiliates will have the opportunity to participate in a Sampling Protocol to identify litter in their communities. Affiliates will be provided with a “cleanup kit” to complete their activities. This will enable Keep America Beautiful to measure litter prevention results overtime, requiring participating affiliates to quantify the amount of litter collected in a test area annually to measure their impact on litter prevention.
- Plastics reprocessing pilot: A pilot to explore the feasibility of collecting “hard to recycle” plastics to be processed using advanced chemical recycling techniques supporting plastic to plastic recycling opportunities.
- Focus on MLK thoroughfares: Keep America Beautiful is partnering with civic and corporate organizations seeking to implement neighborhood building projects along and surrounding Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevards in communities across America.
- Heightened attention to waterways: Litter often finds its way to inland waterways that lead to our oceans. Keep America Beautiful is best suited to address marine debris at its source on land. Keep America Beautiful is piloting a “Seabin” program and will leverage the content of the soon-to-be-published 2020 Litter Study that for the first time included world class research and analysis of litter along waterways.