Keep America Beautiful Kicks Off 2024 Great American Cleanup

Keep America Beautiful® officially kicked off its 2024 Great American Cleanup®, the annual spring-cleaning event in which 300,000 Americans are expected to take part in activities to pick up litter and green their communities between now and the first day of summer.

During last year’s event, Keep America Beautiful volunteers picked up more than 10 million pounds of litter and debris from streets and public spaces across the United States, while improving nearly 800,000 acres of parks, playgrounds, and trails—the equivalent of Yosemite National Park. Through the initiative, more than 6,000 trees were planted along with 65,000 plants, flowers, and shrubs.

“Thanks to our amazing volunteers, we set a cleanup record in 2023, and we’re aiming to break that record in 2024,” said Keep America Beautiful President and CEO Jennifer Lawson.

According to the Keep America Beautiful 2020 National Litter Study, more than 50 billion pieces of litter are strewn across the nation, creating public health hazards, damaging eco systems, and killing animals—including household pets and wildlife.

“If every American picked up just two pieces of litter every day between now and June 20, we would virtually eliminate litter from our national landscape,” Lawson said.

But Keep America Beautiful officials say the impact of the cleanup goes far beyond simply making communities look nicer. They point to new research that shows a correlation between greenspace and reductions in crime and gun violence:

  • A 2022 analysis of data gathered from the nation’s largest cities found greater amounts of greenspace were associated with lower rates of theft and violent crime.
  • A 2023 study led by the University of Michigan School of Public Health found that gun violence declined by 12% in areas adjoining newly developed greenspaces in Indianapolis.
  • A study by Michigan State Universityin 2020 determined that, over a 30-year period, greener cities reported fewer homicides.
  • A 2020 University of Virginia study found that if green space is well-designed and properly maintained, it has the potential to reduce violent crime and gun violence.

There may also be a connection between more trees and better heart health. An ongoing study, led by University of Louisville medical professor Aruni Bhatnagar, is yielding tantalizing evidence that trees may filter air pollution that can stiffen human arteries and release chemicals in to the air that reduce blood pressure and stress.

“Keep America Beautiful has always believed in the power of beauty, and now we have the data to back it up,” Lawson said. “We’re calling on all Americans to join us to help make our nation cleaner, greener, healthier and safer.” 

Keep America Beautiful has nearly 700 affiliates across the nation. They’ll be leading the 2024 Great American Cleanup activities which include litter and debris removal from roadsides, highways, shorelines, and waterways; tree planting and gardening; cleaning and restoring nature trails, recreation areas, and playgrounds; as well as educating communities on waste reduction and recycling. Atlanta, Charleston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Fresno, Los Angeles, Jacksonville, Jackson MS, Memphis, Oklahoma City, San Diego, Tampa Bay, Toledo, and West Palm Beach, FL are among the cities where 2024 cleanup events have been announced.

“Our community loves the Great American Cleanup and has made it our biggest event of the year with over 1,700 volunteers in 20 locations in 2023 working together to remove over 15,000 pounds of litter in just two hours,” said Mark Standriff, Director of Beautify Fresno. “It’s a celebration of service that Fresno has embraced and it’s now the ‘must-do’ activity for anyone who is civic minded.”

Those interested in taking part in the Great American Cleanup should visit where they can sign up for events sponsored by their local Keep America Beautiful affiliate or request a kit to conduct their own clean up.

Sponsors for the 2024 Great American Cleanup include Altria, Cox, Diageo, Dow, McDonald’s, Reynolds American, Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, and Yuengling.

Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s leading community improvement nonprofit organization, inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful strives to end littering, improve recycling, and beautify America’s communities. For more information, visit