On the first day of spring, national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful launched its 2019 Great American Cleanup, the nation's largest community improvement program. Through this far-reaching effort, which takes place March 20-June 20, Keep America Beautiful and its network of more than 600 community-based affiliates and partner organizations host cleanups, green-ups and fix-ups in more than 20,000 communities across the country, engaging more than 1.5 million volunteers and participants.
Keep America Beautiful, with the support of its affiliates and their volunteers, social and civic service organizations, municipalities and government officials and Great American Cleanup national sponsors will surpass many of the achievements of last year's 20th anniversary Great American Cleanup, including 68 million pounds of recyclables collected; 24.7 million pounds of litter collected; 9.4 million volunteer hours logged; more than 55,400 miles of roads, shorelines and waterways improved and beautified; and nearly 21,300 public spaces cleaned.
This year's Great American Cleanup features the launch of the new Common Ground Campaign. Local, state and national elected officials are being invited to Great American Cleanup events to demonstrate that the cleanliness of communities is on Common Ground.
"No matter where one falls on the political spectrum, all Americans hope to live in healthy and beautiful communities," said Helen Lowman, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful, in a statement. "Creating clean, green and beautiful communities is non-partisan. By volunteering for the Great American Cleanup, you can help Keep America Beautiful transform our public spaces into beautiful places—something we can all believe in."
While many Keep America Beautiful affiliates in warmer regions have already started their Great American Cleanup programs, many are scheduled to take place throughout spring. Local, hands-on volunteer events and education programs will renew public parks, trails and recreation areas; clean, enhance and protect shorelines, beaches and waterways; remove litter and debris from roadways, storm drains and public spaces; reduce waste and improve recycling; and plant trees, flowers and community gardens.
The 2019 Great American Cleanup social theme—#cleanYOURblock—is a call to action to engage more volunteers and participants in public space cleanup, beautification and recycling events conducted by Keep America Beautiful affiliates nationwide. Once an individual becomes a Great American Cleanup volunteer with their local Keep America Beautiful affiliate or partner, the national nonprofit's goal is that they will be inspired to take that experience home to organize similar, smaller-scale events in their own neighborhood—right on their own block—with neighbors, family and friends.
"Working with our affiliates and partners, we can help advance environmentally and economically healthier communities, while making the important connection between people and their places," added Lowman. "The Great American Cleanup is a great time to encourage our family, friends and neighbors to build community pride and stewardship."
2019 Great American Cleanup Event Highlights
Here is a roundup of some Great American Cleanup events taking place this spring:
- Great American Cleanup of PA: Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful volunteer groups that register events can get free cleanup supplies such as bags, gloves and vests donated by PA Department of Environmental Protection, PennDOT and Keep America Beautiful. Additionally, during the Pick It Up PA Days, which take place from April 13-May 6 and are sponsored by PA Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association and participating landfills, registered events have access to reduced or free disposal.
- Keep America Beautiful-Newark: The new Keep America Beautiful branch in Newark is being officially launched with a Great American Cleanup kickoff on Saturday, April 6, when Mayor Ras J. Baraka will participate in the cleanup of the city's South Ward.
- Keep Cincinnati Beautiful: Community councils, schools, neighborhood agencies and businesses from the city of Cincinnati, Hamilton County and surrounding communities are invited to organize a neighborhood cleanup event anytime March through November. Volunteers can check out scheduled events, including the State Roadway Cleanup on April 13.
- Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful: The first river-based affiliate—Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful—conducts the last two legs of its Grand Slam Cleanup on Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7. The April 6 event supports the Ijams Nature Center's 30th annual Ijams River Rescue in Knoxville, which averages more than 800 volunteers each year. The Chickamauga Lake cleanup in Dayton is slated to take place on April 7, two days prior to Major League Fishing's prestigious Bass Pro Tour that will be aired on the Discovery Channel.
- Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful: Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful in Reno, Nev., will conduct its Great Community Cleanup on Saturday, April 27, focusing on the cleanup of illegal dumpsites in the open spaces surrounding the Truckee Meadows.
- I Love A Clean San Diego: Join ILACSD on Saturday, April 27, as its volunteers beautify 100 sites in San Diego County during the 17th Annual Creek to Bay Cleanup. Last year, nearly 6,500 volunteers successfully removed more than 145,000 pounds of litter and debris.
- Great Massachusetts Cleanup: This year, Keep Massachusetts Beautiful is encouraging Cleanup Captains to designate Saturday, April 27, for their Great Massachusetts Cleanup events. Every spring, volunteers in communities across the state organize litter cleanups, park maintenance projects, tree planting and other community service events as part of the Great Massachusetts Cleanup.
National sponsors of the 2019 Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup include the Altria Group, The Dow Chemical Company, The Glad Products Company, Niagara Bottling, Inc., Northrop Grumman Corporation and Sazerac Company.