DEP and PennDOT encourage everyone “Pick Up Pennsylvania” during spring litter cleanup

The Pennsylvania Departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation are encouraging residents, local leaders, businesses, and organizations to join in cleaning up their communities as part of the “Pick Up Pennsylvania” spring community improvement campaign, now through May 31.

Pick Up Pennsylvania is a year-long initiative, however, events scheduled from March 1 through May 31 receive free trash bags, gloves, and safety vests provided by support from DEP, PennDOT and Keep America Beautiful, as supplies last.

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Events may include litter cleanups, illegal dump cleanups, community greening and beautification, special collections and litter education events. Events must be registered at keeppabeautiful.org to receive free cleanup supplies. To support their efforts, DEP and the Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association sponsor no- or low-cost trash disposal at participating landfills for registered events during the month of April.

“Litter impacts our quality of life, the natural environment and economic development in communities all across Pennsylvania. We all need to take responsibility for clean and beautiful neighborhoods.” said President of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Shannon Reiter. “By working together to pick up a little litter or plant a tree, we can make big improvements in our quality of life. We’re hoping even more people turn out for this year’s event. It’s amazing what can be accomplished in a few short hours.”

Last year, the Pick Up Pennsylvania initiative welcomed more than 71,000 volunteers who disposed of over 2.9 million pounds of trash, cleaned 8,462 miles of road and waterways and planted more than 8,000 trees, flowers and other greens.

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“PennDOT spends around $14 million each year cleaning up litter on our roadways, money that we’d much rather spend maintaining and improving them,” said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. “We’re thankful for the thousands of Adopt-A-Highway volunteers who every year provide critical support to our efforts to keep Pennsylvania’s roads and waterways clean and litter-free.”

Groups in PennDOT’s Adopt-A-Highway program, which involves volunteers cleaning roadsides year-round, are longtime participants. Adopt-A-Highway volunteers collect litter on a two-mile section of state highway at least twice a year. In 2023, the program had over 4,400 participating groups, more than 117,700 registered volunteers, and over 9,000 miles of adopted state-maintained roadways resulting in 32,272 bags of litter collected.

“Pennsylvania is a beautiful state. Everyone should be able to enjoy our scenic byways, streams and waterways, and state parks without litter obstructing the view,” said DEP Interim Acting Secretary Jessica Shirley. “DEP, PennDOT, and other agencies are leading efforts to prevent litter across the Commonwealth. I hope you’ll consider joining thousands of other Pennsylvanians to help to pick up PA and reduce litter in our communities. Let’s all work to keep Pennsylvania beautiful.”

Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians, including Scout troops, businesses, watershed organizations, Trout Unlimited, Rod and Gun Clubs, and others, have participated in Pick Up Pennsylvania events for over 20 years.

Pick Up Pennsylvania is part of PA Fights Dirty, a larger initiative coordinated by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development that focuses on both preventing and cleaning up litter. Learn more at the PA Fights Dirty website.

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Berks Weekly
Berks Weekly
Berks Weekly is an independent and locally owned digital newspaper covering the City of Reading and Berks County. Subscribe today: berksweekly.com/subscribe
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