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September 2007

Record 7.4 million pounds of trash cleared in Pennsylvania

140,000 volunteers cleared 4,100 communities

It was a record-setting year for the Great Pennsylvania Cleanup. Nearly 140,000 volunteers from every county in Pennsylvania worked together to pick up a record 7.4 million pounds of trash from 4,100 communities between March and May. Volunteers removed trash from roads, parks, schools, waterways, wildlife areas and communities across the state.

The Great Pennsylvania Cleanup, which included events and organized activities from March 1 through May 31, is a statewide effort to remove litter and trash from the state’s neighborhoods and beautify the commonwealth by planting trees and building playgrounds.

Statistics from the 2007 Great Pennsylvania Cleanup include the following:

  • 372,096 bags of collected trash, weighing 7,441,919 pounds;
  • 41,560 pounds of illegally dumped trash and 870 tires collected;
  • 13,565 miles of road, railroad track, trails, waterways and shorelines cleaned, and 3,238 acres of park and or wetlands;

In addition, volunteers planted 12,934 trees, bulbs and plants.

This year’s initiative included a focus on Litter-Free School Zones. A total of 77 schools joined the new program in which they agreed to remove litter from campus grounds weekly. Schools also agreed to promote each campus event as a litter-free activity. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, which administers the program, provides participating schools with a “Litter-Free School Zone” sign as a way to encourage students, families and neighbors to help keep their community clean and litter free.

Home Depot donated five $1,000 gift cards as prizes in a random drawing for schools that registered for the Litter-Free School Zones program during the Great Pennsylvania Cleanup. The gift cards were awarded to Cheltenham Elementary School, Montgomery County; Dunbar Township Elementary School, Fayette County; Fairview Elementary School, Luzerne County; Ridgeview Academy Charter School, Westmoreland County; and St. Marys Area Middle School, Elk County.

The Great Pennsylvania Cleanup is supported and sponsored by the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful alliance, a wide range of businesses, trade organizations, civic and environmental groups, and local and state governments. It is the state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, which was founded in 1953 to promote litter prevention, community revitalization and waste reduction.

PennDOT supports the cleanup by distributing free gloves, safety vests and trash bags to participants. Its Adopt-A-Highway program volunteers once again were key to the success of the Great Pennsylvania Cleanup. Another important partner was the Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association, whose members donated free landfill space for the trash collected.