25 Years of Community Impact: Keep America Beautiful Launches the Great American Cleanup
Over 200,000 volunteers participated in 11,000 events during the 2022 Great American Cleanup, and the program returns for its 25th year to make communities cleaner, greener, and more beautiful.
Keep America Beautiful®, the nation’s leading community improvement nonprofit organization, will launch the 25th annual Great American Cleanup® (GAC) Monday, March 20. In 2022 alone, over 200,000 volunteers and participants took part in over 11,000 events during the three months of GAC, thanks to the work done by the Keep America Beautiful (KAB) network of 700 affiliates and KAB partner organizations. GAC runs through Wednesday, June 21.
“25 years of GAC is certainly something for the country to celebrate, and we are excited to see all of the events being planned and organized to mobilize citizens to make their communities clean, green, and beautiful,” said Keep America Beautiful President and CEO, Jennifer Lawson. “These service projects show the collective impact a program like this has in both large, bustling cities and small, rural areas. No matter where you live, we invite everyone to take action with KAB this spring. Together we can ensure that everyone lives in a beautiful community.”
Activities at planned GAC events include removing litter and debris from roadsides, highways, shorelines, and waterways; planting trees, flowers, and gardens; and cleaning and restoring nature trails, recreation areas, and playgrounds.
Results from the 2022 Great American Cleanup show the impact of the program, even during a pandemic:
208,379 Volunteers and Participants
$39,796,901 in Benefits to Communities
904,069 Volunteer Hours
14,056,280 Pounds of Litter and Debris Collected
2,449,669 Pounds of Items Recycled
29,979 Acres of Parks, Public Lands, Playgrounds, and Trails Cleaned & Improved
29,358 Miles of Streets, Roads, and Highways Cleaned, Improved, or Beautified
702,451 Plants, Shrubs, Flowers, and Bulbs Planted:
8,465 Trees Planted
See a full list of GAC 2022 events, highlights, and social media posts by clicking here.
Some 2023 Great American Cleanup events taking place:
The upstate affiliates in South Carolina (Greenwood, Greenville, Laurens, Newberry, Spartanburg, Pickens, and Anderson) are having a Team Up to Clean Up competition from the start of GAC through Earth Day. From April 1st to the 23rd, the winning county with the largest reported pounds of trash collected will receive a prize from the state affiliate, PalmettoPride/Keep South Carolina Beautiful.
In North Carolina on March 18, the 5th annual “Creek Week!” will be celebrated and GAC will kick off as Park & Recreation partners with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water and Keep Charlotte Beautiful to conduct a combined Greenway, Stream, and Street litter cleanup. Volunteers will be able to choose how they would like to help - in the Stream, on the Greenway, or on the surrounding neighborhood streets.
To incorporate mental health into their GAC efforts, Keep Indian River Beautiful in Florida will be offering environMental mindfulness practices to promote nurture as well as nature. After cleaning up, mindful breathing exercises, qigong, sound baths, and more will be shared to promote the healing qualities nature provides with the community.
In Mississippi, Keep Tupelo Beautiful will hold its GAC kickoff event on March 25th. This event has won Best GAC Event from the state affiliate for many years. Time for Tupelo (formerly 10 for Tupelo) is the community’s largest service day. It is an opportunity for the citizens to impact the community in a big way in the form of litter cleanups and beautification projects. Now in its 10th year, the event typically has around 800 volunteers.
Sponsors for the 2023 Great American Cleanup include Altria, Diageo, Dow, JOE by Joseph Abboud, and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co.
Find a local event and register as a volunteer by clicking here. If there are no events in your area, click here to find a local Keep America Beautiful affiliate or sign up here to conduct a Great American Cleanup event by yourself or with a small group on your own schedule. While supplies last, registrants will receive a free cleanup kit, which contains a litter picker, scale, reflective vest, liners, and work gloves.
Volunteers are encouraged to help spread the message of GAC by sharing photos on social media channels, using the hashtags #DoBeautifulThings, #HowIKeepAmericaBeautiful, #KeepAmericaBeautiful, and #GreatAmericanCleanup.