Pitch In: River Cleanups Need You

March 2016

Our river needs you! Spring cleanups are being planned all along the Susquehanna River and smaller tributaries. Get involved by planning a cleanup or volunteering at an event near you.

There are great resources for starting your own cleanup event (see below), but often river cleanup efforts can hit a stumbling block thanks to one tricky culprit: Tires.

"I get a lot of questions from volunteer groups looking to dispose of waste tires they've found in the river," says Erin Pierce, Program Coordinator with the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership.

"While local landfills will often accept litter from a cleanup free of charge, tires require a fee to recycle. When a small group of volunteers are faced with 20-50 tires the issue becomes very expensive very quickly for a group of folks trying do the right thing," says Pierce. "I don't want anyone who loves the Susquehanna and is willing to help keep it clean become discouraged to the point where their plans for a cleanup fall apart. Tires can be tackled."

To keep your cleanup event on track Pierce recommends the following resources:


Plan A River Cleanup: 

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful: During "Pick It Up PA Days" in April and May registered groups in PA have access to free or reduced litter disposal, plus event banners, gloves, vests, and bags while supplies last! For more info contact: Michelle Dunn, Program Coordinator at mdunn@keeppabeautiful.org.

Project Clean Stream: For those looking to clean the Susquehanna in states other than PA (don't forget, she flows from NY to the Chesapeake Bay!), registering with this organization will set you up with supplies, support, and a nifty way to recruit additional local volunteers via their website. For more info contact: Joanna Freeman, Project Manager at jfreeman@allianceforthebay.org.

Planning Documents & Manuals: If this is your first time planning an event along the river, why not learn from people who have already done it? Check out Keep PA Beautiful's resources like the People: A Solution to Waterway Pollution guide and the Tools For Change manual.

Tire Disposal Resources for Cleanup Groups:

  • Permitted Tire Recyclers: To properly dispose of your tires in PA, the PA DEP website has a list of all permitted tire recyclers and processors. Find the one nearest you and give them a call!
  • Your Local Tire and Car Dealerships: These local businesses are often willing to accept a number of found tires from your event. Get in touch with them early and be specific as to your needs. Don't forget to thank them and give them appropriate recognition in the community!
  • Tires 4ward Tire Recycling Program: This national effort by Bridgestone offers free spent tire recycling and collection to communities nationwide. Register online, give details about the number and type of tires you anticipate, and even request small thank-you gifts for your volunteers (at last contact Tires 4ward had waterbottles, cloth bags and other goodies!).


Volunteer for A Cleanup:

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful: Find cleanup events in Pennsylvania.

Project Clean Stream: Find cleanup events in the Chesapeake Watershed that include the Susquehanna River and tributaries in NY, PA, and MD.


See many other grant resources for your local projects at our Susquehanna Greenway Project Funding webpage. As always, let us know if you'd like our letter of support for your Greenway project. Building the Susquehanna Greenway and citizen stewards one local project at a time!