How to Organize a Litter Cleanup in Your Community

It’s easy to organize a litter cleanup in your community. There are so many ways that Tennessee citizens can help make a difference in reducing the amount of litter on our roadways and organizing litter cleanups in the community really helps. See which of these three ideas will work for you and your community. 


Adopt-A-Highway programs are all over the U.S., but the Adopt-A-Highway program in the Volunteer State is special. Why? First, because you don’t have to pay a fee to adopt a two-mile stretch of highway; you just have to commit to four cleanups each year. Second, you are helping us to live up to our reputation as a beautiful state. Joining the 225 Adopt-A-Highway groups in Tennessee is a simple, five-step process.

  1. Designate a Group Coordinator so we can keep your group updated regularly
  2. Complete an Application Form and Register Your Group
  3. Work with a District Coordinator to assign your adopted route
  4. Follow the safety guidelines for litter pickups
  5. Report your activity so TDOT can pick up the trash your group collected

The Adopt-A-Highway program is a great way for businesses and community groups to make a difference in the areas where they live, work and play.

Watch state program coordinator Brittany Morris talk with Red Plastic Cup and Grumpy Food Container about the Adopt-A-Highway program.

Everything you need to know about this program can be found on the TN Department of Transportation website.

Become a Keep Tennessee Beautiful Affiliate

Keep Tennessee Beautiful is the state-level affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, and serves as a state resource for litter prevention, community greening, and recycling and waste reduction education. They are an important partner with Nobody Trashes Tennessee and have community affiliates throughout the state.

Community affiliates make a bigger commitment to litter prevention. Some are city-based, others are county-based and Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful is exclusively dedicated to cleaning the Tennessee River. 

Maybe there’s an affiliate near you. They are listed at Keep Tennessee Beautiful. If you don’t find one in your community, consider starting an affiliate! It’s a bigger commitment but Keep Tennessee Beautiful has a great support system for its affiliates.

Want to Start Smaller?

If Adopt-A-Highway or the Keep Tennessee Beautiful affiliate programs aren’t exactly what you’re looking for, here are some resources from around our state on local litter cleanups. Organize a school, campus, main street or community organization cleanup. Every time a citizen commits to cleaning up litter, everyone in the state of Tennessee wins!

Litter Cleanup Resources

Find a cleanup up near you with our Tennessee Cleanup Event Calendar.

Nat Geo Kids has a step-by-step outline for cleanups organized by kids.

Williamson County has resources listed on the Williamson County Website.

Nashville area residents can review this information.

In Chattanooga, find local information at Nooga Today.

The City of Franklin offers this guide on litter cleanups at the City of Franklin Website

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