The Great American Cleanup Helps Keep America Beautiful


Communities around the country have helped keep America beautiful this spring by participating in the Great American Cleanup!

Entering its 17th year, the Great American Cleanup is the country’s largest community improvement program that kicks off in more than 20,000 communities each spring, usually from March through early May. This national program engages 2 million volunteers who take action in their communities to create positive change and lasting impact.

Keep America Beautiful and its powerful network of community-based affiliates execute the Great American Cleanup each year by launching service projects based on the knowledge and needs of local communities. During the Great American Cleanup, the  volunteers’ work returns on average $175 million in measurable benefits across the participating communities.

The Great American Cleanup program offers structured service projects including experiential environment education, organized volunteer events and employee engagement opportunities. The organization works closely with governors, mayors and other local government and community leaders including state recycling organizations to ensure that they are meeting the needs of local communities.

Led by more than 600 Keep America Beautiful affiliates and hundreds of other participating community-based organizations, Great American Cleanup events and education programs help to renew parks, trails and recreation areas, clean shorelines and waterways, remove litter and debris, reduce waste and increase recycling, and plant trees, flowers and community gardens, among other activities to inspire a new generation of community stewards.

The Great American Cleanup provides communities with structured service projects that engage volunteers to take greater responsibility for their community’s environment. All Great American Cleanup service projects create opportunity for environmental education and positive behavior change to build and sustain more beautiful communities.

Here’s what the Great American Cleanup does:

  • We remove litter and debris from roadsides, highways, shorelines and waterways for safer, cleaner communities.
  • We plant trees, flowers and gardens to strengthen our community’s green infrastructure.
  • We clean and restore nature trails, recreation areas and playgrounds to encourage play and physical activity.
  • We recycle cans, plastic bottles, electronics, paper products, tires, clothing, and even junk cars to give garbage another life.
  • We rebuild public spaces in communities struck by natural disasters to renew social connections.
  • We restore business storefronts and gateways to spur economic impact.

In 2014, Great American Cleanup participants:

  • Removed 37 million pounds of litter and debris for safer, cleaner communities;
  • Cleaned 85,901 miles of streets, highways, trails, waterways and shorelines;
  • Cleaned and renewed 130,497 acres of parks, public lands and wetlands;
  • Collected more than 250 million pounds of items for recycling or reusing, including PET plastic bottles, electronics, newspaper and more; and
  • Planted 41,000 trees and 1.5 million flowers and bulbs to strengthen a community’s green infrastructure.

Pretty impressive!

Although most cleanups have already happened this spring, you can take their example and do your own local cleanup. Mark your calendar for next spring! Click here for more information about Keep America Beautiful.

Keep America Beautiful is the nation’s leading nonprofit that brings people together to build and sustain vibrant communities. With our powerful network of community-based affiliates, we work with millions of volunteers who take action in their communities to transform public spaces into beautiful places. Whether the place is a community garden, a city park or a vacant lot, public places provide a neutral space in which people can come together with a shared purpose of community building. By continually improving public spaces while caring for neglected ones, positive social and economic change occurs in communities across the country.


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