Clean California Removes 1 Million Cubic Yards of Litter from Roadsides

Governor Gavin Newsom’s Clean California initiative hit a major milestone of removing 1 million cubic yards of litter from the state’s roadsides since the program’s inception less than 15 months ago. That’s more than 16,700 tons of litter – enough to build two stacks of trash from the Earth’s surface to beyond the International Space Station, 250 miles in orbit.

“California is the most beautiful place in the world, and we need to do more to keep our communities clean and safe,” said Governor Newsom. “With an investment of over $1 billion, Clean California projects are cleaning up our neighborhoods and enriching our public spaces by removing litter and debris from our roadsides throughout our state.”

Clean California is a sweeping $1.1 billion, multiyear clean-up effort led by Caltrans to remove trash, create thousands of jobs, and engage communities to transform public spaces. Since Clean California launched in July 2021, Caltrans has removed 300 percent more litter from the state highway system compared to 2020 and hired 759 new team members, including maintenance workers who collect litter and remove graffiti.

“Removing 1 million cubic yards of trash from our roadways is a very big step toward fulfilling Governor Newsom’s vision for Clean California. I salute the many communities joining this effort to make our state cleaner, safer and more beautiful,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares.

Along with roadside cleanup efforts, Caltrans has held 180 free Dump Day events statewide to allow Californians to safely dispose of bulk items, collecting more than 18,000 tires and 5,000 mattresses. Clean California also offers a $250 monthly volunteer incentive stipend through the Adopt-A-Highway program, increasing highway adoptions by nearly 1,000. These highway adopters have collected 3,000 cubic yards of trash during the past 15 months.

Clean California grants have funded 231 projects to revitalize and beautify underserved communities, some of which are already complete and now sources of community pride. The recently enacted state budget includes $100 million to fund another round of Clean California local grant projects.

For more information on how to transform your community and become a part of Clean California, visit CleanCA.com.

Before and after photos of roadsides cleaned by Caltrans maintenance crews:

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