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Community Clean Up Champions
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Whether you’re a seasoned litter picker upper or simply looking for a great way to get involved with your local community, Los Angeles is home to many fantastic volunteer organizations and initiatives all working to keep our streets clean. Each of these groups allows residents like you to make a difference and have some fun while doing it.


Check out just a few of our city’s wonderful community clean up organizations and see how you can get involved:


LA’s Eco-Warrior Organizations


Echo Park Trash Club


This organization started up with a realization that trash had been piling up in the Echo Park area for quite some time. A handful of concerned community members joined in and now Echo Park Trash Club leads on average three clean up events per month with anywhere from 10-30 people per outing. If you’re in the Echo Park area and want to make a difference right in your own backyard, check out this article and get involved today.


Silverlake Trash Bandits


Similar to the Echo Park Trash Club, the Silverlake Trash Bandits was founded in an effort to combat the growing pollution problem in the Silverlake area. This trash club is more than just a clean up crew. It has transformed into a culture. Taking their cues from nature’s trash bandits (raccoons), this club has developed innovative ways of dealing with trash. From supplying bags for homeless populations to fixing unlatched cans, this club cleans their community and strives to make changes that keep the community clean. Check out their Facebook page to keep up to date with local clean ups. 


Friends of the Los Angeles River


For over 30 years, the Friends of the Los Angeles River has been making strides throughout L.A. to keep our city’s main waterway clean on its way to the ocean. Trash that collects in the LA River flows directly to San Pedro Bay and, ultimately, into the Pacific Ocean, where there are no limits to where this trash can travel. Through river cleanups and numerous other community cleanups, the Friends of the Los Angeles River help collect thousands and thousands of pounds of trash each year. Take a look at their website to learn more about this amazing organization and how you can get involved.


Volunteers Cleaning Communities


In case you haven’t gotten the gist just yet, there are community clean up organizations all over L.A. Whatever neighborhood you call home, there’s a good chance that a group of people get together to collect trash from our streets. For example, those living in the Chatsworth area have a wonderful resource for community cleanups, the Volunteers Cleaning Communities. This organization, founded by Jill Mather in the Chatsworth area, has helped to keep trash from making its way out of the Chatsworth area and have banded together to lead countless clean ups. The organization now hosts clean up events throughout the state. Keep up to date with clean up events near you by visiting their website. And if you live in the San Fernando Valley, don’t miss our article featuring one of LA’s community champions Jill Mather of Volunteers Cleaning Communities and the Adopt 1 Street Program!


Clean Up Apps


If you find yourself having trouble finding the right community clean up club for you or you’d prefer to take measure into your own hands, try an app. It sounds simple, but there are so many apps out there that help to organize your own clean up efforts, as well as those that provide environmental learning in game formats, perfect for families. Check out Litterati and join a global community of litter picker uppers to log your efforts. This data is highly valuable in understanding the severity of our trash problem. And if you’re looking more for educational games, check out this article for local online learning resources.


Corporate Clean Ups


Want to bring a sense of environmental stewardship not only to your home, but also to your work? Heal the Bay offers fantastic resources for companies to get involved in the fight against pollution. With options such as having a speaker come and provide an interactive presentation to raise awareness on litter issues, coordinating a beach clean up for your organization, or simply donating, your business can become a main player in protecting our environment and our ocean.


Take It A Step Further


Getting out and picking up trash is a fantastic way to spend your time, but what if you want to take it a step further and actually impact the policies that could lead to a cleaner community? Well, fortunately, Los Angeles has a strong community of environmentally focused stakeholders and state and local leaders actively listen to public comments and questions at the LA Water Resources Control Board meetings throughout the year. Find out how to attend a meeting today.


Another great way to get involved is to learn more about LA County’s Safe Clean Water Program. Watershed area steering committees, representing LA County’s nine watersheds, meet on a regular basis to review and recommend proposed water quality and water capture projects and always welcome the participation of community members and residents. Visit the Safe Clean Water Program’s website to learn more about this program.


How the City of Los Angeles Can Help


No matter how you choose to get involved with trash cleanup, the City of Los Angeles is here to help. From providing bulk pickup to setting your event up with recycling means, we want to make your community clean up as effective as possible. 


If you’re interested in conducting your own community clean-up, the Office of Community Beautification (OCB) with the Department of Public Works can assist. From disposable gloves to brooms to paint for graffiti, OCB has a myriad of tools and resources available for community organizations and residents who are interested in sprucing up their neighborhood. The first step is to contact OCB and fill out a request form for supplies.


Take a look at the Los Angeles Environment and Sanitation website to learn more about how we can help with your next event. LASAN can provide bulky item collection of unwanted large household items and can also assist with bins for trash and/or recycling for special events. Please visit our Special Events Services web page to learn more.


You’ve Cleaned Up…Now Enjoy Your Watershed


There are so many amazing outdoor recreation opportunities in the greater LA area from kayaking to birdwatching. Here is a list of some of our favorites:


  • Kayaking on the LA River. The Los Angeles River is typically open for recreational use between Memorial Day and Labor Day, so get out and get paddling.
  • Ballona Creek has incredible hiking and biking trails to enjoy with the whole family.
  • Speaking of bike rides, there are plenty of trails lining the LA River to get out and explore your local wetland habitats.
  • With a wonderful mix of waterfowl, songbirds, and raptors the LA area has it all when it comes to birds. Get in touch with the LA Audubon Society and join a birding trip.
  • You may have never heard of Plogging, but it is a wonderful invention of the Swedes that combines jogging with picking up trash. 


Best of luck with your pursuit of keeping this city we call home clean and beautiful. Reach out to lastormwater@lacity.org if you have any questions or comments!

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