It’s the things you don’t see around Denver Public Schools buildings, north and south Federal Boulevard, and east and west Colfax Avenue that tells you they are hard at work. They refers to Keep Denver Beautiful (KDB), a program of Denver Solid Waste Management that works with volunteers to eliminate litter, junk, and graffiti from neighborhoods and public spaces around the city.
They do this through a variety of citywide efforts, one being the Adopt-A-Spot (AAS) program, in which residents are assigned specific areas to clean up, at least four times during a one-year period.
“It was started to help empower residents to clean up the areas that they see as important and also tap into individual resident’s knowledge of where litter is actually located in Denver,” says Brad Paterson, program administrator for Denver Recycles.
There are more than 25 active AAS groups around the city, and children as young as five years old can volunteer alongside adults. “Unfortunately, youth are just not a huge part of this program,” Paterson says. “[AAS is] an untapped resource for parents that is waiting to support families [who want to] clean up their neighborhoods.”
KDB also organizes specific cleanup efforts throughout the year, including the Great Denver Cleanup and West Denver Cleanupalooza. Tools, supplies, and training are provided, so it’s easy to get the kids involved.
How Families Can Help
- Identify a place near your neighborhood that needs to be cleaned up. Review the program guidelines and apply to Adopt-A-Spot with your family (including kids as young as age five), youth organization, church, or community group.
- Register for one-time cleanup efforts with your family or group, throughout the year. Check the website for upcoming events.
- Reduce potential litter by using reusable items. Carry reusable shopping bags and refillable mugs or water bottles. Refuse single-use items that you do not need. Instead, bring your own utensils, do without a straw, or bring a reusable one. Review the guidelines with your family.
- Dispose of waste responsibly, sign up for residential compost collection, and learn how to recycle correctly. Use Denver Recycles’ Recycling Directory to find out how to dispose of everything from paint to electronics to light bulbs. Take advantage of the many city services such as the household hazardous waste pickup, and free appliance collection.
- Outside of Denver, check your city’s website for similar cleanup and recycling efforts in your community. If certain efforts don’t exist, contact your city leaders, and ask about starting one.