As PennDOT crews get set to pick up I-81 litter, they ask for the public’s help this spring

28 March 2024- The Pennsylvania Departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation today encouraged 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.

This comes as PennDOT has already announced plans to pickup litter down I-81 in Franklin County this coming month, beginning on Monday.

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.

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.

“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. In2023, 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. 

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.