Great American Cleanup
Keep Texas Beautiful is proud to participate in Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup (GAC), the nation’s largest community improvement program, taking place annually each spring March through May.
Anyone can participate! Volunteers come from all walks of life: students, civic and non-profit organizations, individuals, community groups, sports teams and more.
The Great American Cleanup is a program to support the efforts of KTB and Keep America Beautiful Affiliates, nonprofits, volunteers, corporations, scout groups, and communities to join forces and beautify communities through beautification events, recycling events, litter cleanups, and more. KTB’s Great American Cleanup includes Don’t mess with Texas®Trash-Off and Keep Texas Waterways Clean.
Registered participants have access to the online event toolkit and KTB affiliates receive cleanup supplies including: trash bags, recycle bags, gloves, and a banner.
March 1- May 31.
The Great American Cleanup is held March through May each year. Supply orders open on MLK Day. 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.
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.
- Identify a location 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.
- Request your cleanup supplies and materials. Be sure to register your event in our events calendar. Requests open January 16, 2023.
- Encourage friends, family and colleagues to get involved and help organize the cleanup. Create 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 event flyers in the area.
- When picking up litter, KTB recommends participants to do so responsibly and at their comfort level. Please have available face masks and disposable gloves, and use a litter grabber (when available).When participants are finished collecting litter, please make sure their trash bags are securely tied to protect sanitation workers. Advise them to immediately wash their hands with soap and water and hand sanitizer after collecting litter. Please have them dispose of single-use face masks and disposable gloves properly and in the waste bin. Please follow all CDC guidelines surrounding COVID-19.
- Arrive early to set up and post appropriate signage for attendees. At your check-in station, ensure you have pens, pencils and sign-in sheets ready for your volunteers.
- Think through the flow of the volunteer experience from welcome to wrap-up. Make sure group leaders have a volunteer welcome and safety speech to give. For cleanups, provide a volume to weight estimation sheet and data card. Consider other things you might want from volunteers, such as a photo release waiver.Establish a point-person to stay at the check-in station in case of health emergencies or any late arrivals.
- 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 #GreatAmericanCleanup. If you’re hosting a cleanup, remind volunteers 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.
Submit your wrap-up report.
Wrap-up reports must be submitted TWO WEEKS after your event. After your volunteers submit their data online, encourage them to share it on social media and with their local press! We have a great resource to help you with closing out your cleanup – How to Wrap Up your Cleanup.
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!
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 organizer and ocean advocate. Thank you!
Looking for more information about how to enter your cleanup data?
The Event Wrap-Up Guide includes information about how to use the Litter Database and submit your event data.
Great American Cleanup
The data in the following infographic only includes activity performed between March 1 – May 31, 2022, and reported to KTB.