Great American Cleanup
Keep America Beautiful has announced that the Great American Cleanup (GAC) will be held in 2021. Keep Texas Beautiful participates annually in this national program from March 1 through May 31, but we wanted to clarify how Texans can get involved.
At this time, KTB is promoting cleanups for individuals, members of the same household or small groups (size dependent on your local government guidelines). Please follow all local, county, and state guidance. KTB reminds Texans to stay safe when choosing to go outside and clean up your communities.
Now Accepting Supply Requests!
We are thrilled to kick-off the 2021 Great American Cleanup. To request supplies for your community improvement event(s), we ask that you fill out this quick form to register your cleanup and get your supplies. Be sure to order supplies 3 weeks prior to your scheduled cleanup to ensure timely shipment. Events scheduled further than three weeks away will receive supplies prior to the event.
Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup (GAC) is the nation’s largest community improvement program, taking place annually each spring from March through May.
MONTHLY CLEANUP THEMES! We've recently introduced themed months to help inspire events in your community. March is Waterways Cleanup Month presented by Dos Equis, with a kick-off event the first Saturday in March called the Great Texas River Cleanup. In April, we're focusing on roadway cleanups with the Don’t mess with Texas® Trash-Off. The program supports efforts to clear Texas roadsides of trash and includes cleanups taking place April 1-30. For the last month of GAC, we're making May Parks and Trails Month and invite you to host an event focused on beautification of our public spaces.
MARCH: Waterways Cleanup
APRIL: Roadside Litter Cleanup
MAY: Parks & Trails Cleanup
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 beautify communities through beautification events, recycling events, litter cleanups and more. Registered participants will have access to the online event toolkit and KTB affiliates will receive trash bags, recycle bags, gloves and a banner.
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.
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 event? Here's what to do next:
Review COVID-19 Guidelines
When picking up litter, KTB recommends participants to do so responsibly and at their comfort level. Please have participants wear a face mask and disposable gloves, and use a litter grabber (when available). Maintain at least 6 feet of distance from passersby and those not from your immediate household.
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 their single-use face masks and disposable gloves properly and in the waste bin. Please follow all local, state and federal guidelines surrounding COVID-19.
- Printable Flyer! PPE Litter Cleanup Guidance - How to properly pick up littered personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Printable Flyer! Individual Cleanup Guidance - Recommendations for individuals and households to participate in cleanups.
Additional guidelines and resources can be found on the KTB COVID-19 page.
Pick a Project
The Great American Cleanup prompts individuals to take greater responsibility for their local environment by conducting grassroots community service projects that engage volunteers, local businesses, and civic leaders. A successful Great American Cleanup project must fulfill the needs of the local community. You can host a community cleanup, a greening and beautification event, conduct a community-wide educational workshop, or host a recycling event.
Register Your Event with Keep Texas Beautiful
Use this form to request your cleanup 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.
- Great American Cleanup Social Media Guide
- Value of In-Kind Materials
- How to Wrap Up your Cleanup
- Volunteer/Affiliate Fact Sheet
- 2020 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
- New! Webinar Recording: Planning a Successful Waterways Cleanup
- New! Waterways Cleanup Month Flyer
Ready to start cleaning up? Here's what to do next.
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.
What to Tell Volunteers
This will depend on the type of event your hosting. Be prepared for everything. 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.
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 #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.
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! We have a great resource to help you with closing out your cleanup - How to Wrap Up your Cleanup.
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!
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!
Great American Cleanup Impact
The data in the following infographic includes Great American Cleanup and all other activity performed during the period of March 1 - May 31.
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.
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