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How to Organize a Community Cleanup


Winter Storm Stella may have made it hard to think about spring and outdoor activities, but in the next few weeks, communities all over Pennsylvania will come together to beautify their neighborhoods.

From May 1 through March 31, volunteers participate in a statewide event known as the Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania. The main focus of this initiative is to clean up litter and debris that defaces our streets, parks, waterways, forests and neighborhoods. 

Seneca Landfill provides free disposal services for the 2017 "Pick It Up PA Days" from April 18 through May 9 as part of the Great American Clean Up of Pennsylvania.

This year's main event will take place on April 22, 2017.  Registered groups will have from April 18 through and including May 9 to conduct a cleanup and visit Seneca Landfill or other participating facilities for disposal.  All volunteer groups will be instructed to present their registration certificate and ID number when bringing waste to participating facilities.  

Your community can participate in the 2017 Great American Cleanup of PA by:
    • Cleaning up litter and trash along roadsides, streams, beaches, parks, forests and neighborhoods 
    • Hosting recycling events for hard-to-dispose of items like electronics and tires
    • Planting or tending to green areas and community parks
    • Removing graffiti from public areas
    • Helping spruce-up community buildings with external repairs or a fresh coat of paint
    • Providing community education about proper waste disposal and recycling practices

Here is how to help plan an event in your area:

    1. Register your event.
Visit the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful website to register your event. PennDOT supplies bags, gloves and safety vests for registered events. Additionally, during Pick It Up PA days, which are from April 18 to May 8, registered events can also receive reduced or free disposal. Contact us for more information about how we can support your community cleanup, or to find out if there is already a community cleanup scheduled for your area.

    2. Set your goals and make a plan.
While registering your event, establish what you want to do and how you will accomplish it. Figure out how you will get participants, how you will get equipment, whose approval you may need, and if the site needs to be checked for hazards in advance.

    3. Recruit volunteers.
The more the merrier! Groups you are already part of, like your workplace or church, are a great place to start. Also invite other organizations to participate, such as Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, Boy and Girl Scout troops, environmental clubs, community and civic associations, sports teams, hunting and fishing clubs, and high schools.

    4. Consider suggesting donations.
Some organizations or businesses may want to provide plants, trees, bulbs, flowers, cleanup gear or food & beverage for volunteers. Or, if an organization or individual wants to donate money to the cause, provide them with contacts for established local and national conservation groups.

    5. Publicize the event.
Contact your local newspapers to see if they have a section for community events. Submit your event to free online event calendars for your area. Create an event on Facebook. Ask local churches and organizations to put an announcement in their bulletin or meeting minutes. Place flyers in approved public areas like coffee shops, grocery stores or community meeting buildings.

    6. Communicate with your volunteers and donors.
Make a plan for how you'll explain where to meet, what to do, where to get resources, who to contact and how to stay safe during the event.

Whether you are planning your own event or are participating in an existing one, the Vogel Holding, Inc. family of businesses appreciates your efforts to keep Pennsylvania beautiful!