Scrapbook Photo 04/11/21 - 20 New Stories - REAL Environmental & Conservation Leadership In PA:
Keep PA Beautiful Adoption Program Helps Reduce Local Litter Cleanup Costs

While littering and illegal dumping are often discussed as social or environmental problems, rarely do we think about their economic impact-- but the cost of litter is very real.

Over five years, 2014 through 2018, the Department of Transportation spent over $65 million removing litter from within highway rights-of-way.

The costs of dealing with litter and illegal dumping are quite large for communities as well, but are often obscured because they are dispersed across various governmental departments, community-based organizations and volunteer groups.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful documented in their 2019 study, The Cost of Littering and Illegal Dumping in Pennsylvania, that just nine cities in Pennsylvania spend $68 million annually on cleanup, education, enforcement and prevention efforts to address litter and illegal dumping throughout their respective communities.

Eighty percent of that went towards cleaning up.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has a program that helps mitigate municipal cleanup costs.

The KPB Road and Area Adoption Program equips local residents with the tools and resources they need to be stewards of their neighborhoods.

With the support of local municipalities, the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful adoption program is available statewide for municipal roads, parks, neighborhood blocks, greenways, waterways and trails.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful provides a sign recognizing the volunteers’ efforts and seeks the support of the local entity, usually the municipality, to provide the sign post, install the sign and provide trash disposal options as needed.

Once an adoption is approved, the volunteer individual or group receives gloves, bags and safety vests to get them started. Additional supplies are available each spring and fall through Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s Pick Up Pennsylvania cleanup initiative.

“Litter cleanups divert municipal personnel from other, more essential tasks. Litter affects neighborhoods environmentally, socially and economically. Supporting volunteers who want to help by adopting roads or areas benefits the health and safety of the whole community,” said Shannon Reiter, President of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. We are grateful for the municipalities who continue to support our program and encourage all municipalities to help by promoting our road and area adoption program to their residents.”

While not littering in the first place is the best scenario, cleanups are critical, and in a sense serve as a preventative function through engaging the community around the littering issue and simply because people are less likely to litter in an area that is kept free of trash.

Trash attracts trash.

Forks Township in Northampton County has supported the adoption of Kuebler Road since 2017.  

“Forks Township allows us to use their safety signs and have allowed us to use their trash and recycle bins to dispose of the trash we collect along Kuebler Road. When we first adopted it, we collected over a hundred pounds of trash in just 0.6 miles. That’s just unreal, especially since it isn’t a highway. But as we’ve been cleaning up, we’ve noticed now that the other businesses in the area are starting to be more proactive and are helping by maintaining their areas,” said Brad Buffalo, USW District 10 L #412 / NextGen.

“I think the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful adoption program is phenomenal. Anytime a group or business wants to take the initiative to keep our township beautiful is always appreciated. We are grateful for the United Steel Workers efforts,” said John O’Neil, Chairman, Forks Township Board of Supervisors.

Until the threat of the Coronavirus passes, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful recommends doing a cleanup either solo or with household family members and encourages adhering to the current recommendations for social distancing.

For more information about adopting a municipal road, park, trail or waterway, visit KPB’s Adoption webpage or contact Stephanie Larson at or 877-772-3673 x104.

For information about adopting a state maintained road, visit PennDOT’s  Adopt-a-Highway webpage.

For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful website. Click Here to become a member.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from KPB, Like them on Facebook, Follow on Twitter, Discover them on Pinterest and visit their YouTube Channel.

Also visit the Illegal Dump Free PA website for more ideas on how to clean up communities and keep them clean and KPB’s Electronics Waste website.

Keep PA Beautiful helps mobilize over 100,000 volunteers a year to pick up litter, clean up illegal dumping and beautify Pennsylvania.

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-- Agriculture, DEP Panel Discussion On Reducing Food Waste, Food Security And Its Environmental Impacts

[Posted: January 14, 2021]


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