Great American Cleanup
Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup is the nation’s largest community improvement program, taking place annually each spring.
Cleanup activities can include beautifying parks and recreation areas, cleaning waterways, handling recycling collections, picking up litter, removing graffiti, planting trees and conducting educational programs and litter-free events — anything that keeps your community beautiful! The Don’t mess with Texas® Trash-Off serves as Texas’ signature event for the Great American Cleanup held annually in April.
To ensure timely delivery of materials, please submit your order at least three weeks prior to your event.
Start a Cleanup!
Who: Texans who want to get involved in their local community.
What: The Great American Cleanup is a program to support the efforts of KTB and KAB Affiliates, nonprofits, volunteers, corporations, scout groups and communities to join forces and clear Texas roadsides of trash. Millions of pieces of litter accumulate on our roadways each year, which means we need your help. Registered participants will have access to the online event toolkit and KTB affiliates will receive trash bags and gloves.
When: This year's Great American Cleanup will take place in the spring of 2018. Be sure to order supplies 3 weeks prior to your scheduled cleanup to ensure timely shipment. An event wrap-up report must be completed within two weeks of the event date.
Where: Great American Cleanup events can take place in any public area in your community needing some attention. We recommend parks, schools, main street/downtown, watershed areas and roadways. If you are hosting this event in Texas, be sure to co-brand your cleanup to align with our signature Great American Cleanup event, the Don’t mess with Texas® Trash-Off.
Ways to get involved:
Contact your local KTB Affiliate
Find your local affiliate here.
Join a Great American Cleanup in your community
Check out Great American Cleanup events happening here.
Organize your own Great American Cleanup
Great American Cleanup Toolkit
Ready to organize your own Great American Cleanup/Don’t mess with Texas® Trash-Off event? Here's what to do next:
Pick a Location
Identify an area in your community that could be cleaned and that is safe and accessible. Come up with a plan to dispose of the trash and recyclables you collect properly. Visit the site in advance of the cleanup date to determine where to set up a check-in station, where to leave bags of trash and recyclables and what areas volunteers will clean.
Register Your Event with Keep Texas Beautiful
Use this form to register your cleanup for supplies and materials. You must also register your event in our events calendar. Affiliates must sign into the Affiliate portal to do so, while non-affiliate members must submit manually online.
Contact Your Community
Encourage friends, family and colleagues to get involved and help organize the cleanup. Create a work event or a Facebook event so interested volunteers can RSVP and you can easily communicate with attendees. Spread the word through email, social media and e-invites. You can also print and post these event flyers in the area.
Resources (stay tuned for additional 2018 resources)
- Volunteer/Affiliate Fact Sheet
- 2019 Social Media Guide
- 2019 Local Community Press Release
- KAB Great American Cleanup Volunteer Guide
- KAB Great American Cleanup Volunteer Guide (Spanish)
- KAB Great American Cleanup 20 Ways to Clean Your Block Guide
- KAB Great American Cleanup Social Media Guide
- Don’t mess with Texas® Trash-Off Logo
- Don’t mess with Texas® Trash-Off Data Collection Card
- Don’t mess with Texas® Trash-Off Scavenger Hunt Card Trash-Off Scavenger Hunt Card
Ready to start cleaning up? Here's what to do next.
Arrive early to set up, post signs and label your trash drop-off site. At your check-in station, ensure you have pens, pencils and sign-in sheets ready for your volunteers.
What to Tell Volunteers
Emphasize the importance of data collection. Make sure group leaders have their Safety Speech, Volunteer Welcome, Volume to Weight Estimation Sheet and Data Card. It is easier to collect data as items are picked up, rather than sorting and tallying everything after you clean.
Establish a point-person to stay at the check-in station in case of health emergencies or any late arrivals.
Tell volunteers what to do with the filled bags of trash and set a meeting time for the end of the cleanup so that everyone returns at the same time. Kids should always have adult supervision.
Document the Cleanup
Take before and after photos of the cleanup site as well as shots of your volunteers in action and a final group picture with all of the trash collected. You can submit these with your data card or tag @KeepTXBeautiful online with #DMWTTO and #GreatAmericanCleanup.
If you have a scale with a hook, use it to weigh the trash bags. If you don’t have a scale, you can use a standard conversion of 15 pounds per trash bag to estimate the overall weight of your collected trash.
As the volunteers finish, remind them to review the information they entered into the Data Cards and then make sure they submit! Collect all completed paper data forms to submit to Keep Texas Beautiful.
Ensure all trash is left in the designated drop-off location and that no materials are left behind as you leave the cleanup location.
Finished sweeping up? Here's what to do next.
Submit your Wrap-Up Report
After your volunteers submit their data online, encourage them to share it on social media and with their local press!
If you have any questions, or would like to share photos or highlights, feel free to reach out to Keep Texas Beautiful:
Mail: Keep Texas Beautiful
Attn: Don’t mess with Texas® Trash-Off
8850 Business Park Drive, Suite 200
Austin, TX 78759
Survey your cleanup team post-event. Encourage everyone to share experiences, stories and pictures about what they saw. This might encourage others to attend future events—and now is the time to start planning. Let them know about your next cleanup; get volunteers onboard while their enthusiasm is high!
- Download your KAB Participation Certificate (word)
- Download your KAB Participation Certificate (pdf)
Send out an email saying, “Look what we did!” Include how many friends, family and community members joined in and the weight of trash were collected. Celebrate your accomplishment as a cleanup organizers and ocean advocate. Thank you!
Most Unusual Item Contest
Enter to win a $100 gift certificate!
To enter, add a picture of your “Most Unusual Item” to your event wrap up report. One entry per wrap up report – must be completed by June 1 to be included in the contest.
The winner will be announced in mid-June.