Citywide Cleanup: Keeping Anchorage clean for 55 years

Telling Alaska’s Story
Citywide Cleanup: keeping Anchorage clean for 55 years
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 6:51 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - After a long winter comes a quick spring, and then what many Alaskans know as “break up.”

It’s a sign that summer is on the way, but it also reveals an eyesore. Since 1968, businesses have been helping to keep the city clean by doing their part to pick up trash. It turned into such a community-wide effort, there was once even a trash parade, and the Sullivan Arena hosted a banquet and luncheon which signified the start of City Cleanup week.

“It always started with the businesses,” former Citywide Cleanup Manager JJ Harrier said. “They were the ones who rallied their troops and got out and picked up the trash, and then the schools followed and then the community areas ... the neighborhoods, and so as far back as I can remember — the businesses were the ones that were carrying the torch for clean up every spring and it just kind of gained momentum year after year.”

What was just seven days initially has now turned into a month-long event.

“Citywide Cleanup is really an annual event if you think about it,” Harrier said. “What’s special about what the Anchorage Chamber does is — it sticks in people’s minds that this is the time of year where we can now get excited about summer and pitch in as a community and make things cleaner.”

Citywide Cleanup officially ended June 3. For those that used orange trash bags, municipal officials advised not to leave them on the side of the road, but bring them to one of the three disposal sites listed on the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce’s website.