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City Manager's 1-Bag Challenge Program Breaks Litter Collection Record

City Manager's 1-Bag Challenge Program Breaks Litter Collection Record

July 3, 2024

After celebrating another year of program success, the City of Cedar Rapids City Manager's 1-Bag Challenge litter collection program has broken the record of bags of litter collected in one year. A total of 9,074 bags of litter were collected in fiscal year 2024, which ended June 30. The previous record was 7,192 bags of litter collected in fiscal year 2023; this year's number breaks the record by over 1,800 bags. The litter was collected by resident volunteer individuals and groups, City staff, contracted workers, and several local business participants. 

Cedar Rapids City Manager Jeff Pomeranz challenges every resident to help CleanUpCR. 

"We have a saying here in Cedar Rapids — ‘Welcome is Our Language.’ One of the ways we create a welcoming community is by taking pride in our homes, businesses, commercial areas, parks and trails,” Pomeranz said. "I am passionate about making Cedar Rapids the greatest place to live, work, and play. That's why we created the CleanUpCR campaign and the City Manager's 1-Bag Challenge. Over the years, our community has survived disasters such as extreme flooding and the 2020 Derecho, and we have come together with resilience and strength to clean up Cedar Rapids."

Since its inception in 2012, the 1-Bag Challenge program has inspired volunteers to fill close to 40,000 bags of litter, collected by residents, City staff, businesses, churches, neighborhood associations, scout troops, organizations, schools, and more. Final collection numbers have been tallied at the end of each fiscal year since June 2014. 

The City saves litter kit postcards received by residents who have taken the challenge and filled out feedback on the card. Some recent postcard comments include:

  • "We enjoyed helping make our city a cleaner place to live."
  • "Our granddaughters (8 and 11 years old) helped pick up trash on Earth Day. We willingly walked over two miles!"
  • "The kids enjoyed picking up trash! They felt proud to help clean up their neighborhood."
  • "Amazing the amount of garbage we picked up just around the block!"

Litter kits for the program, which include the postcards, as well as bags and gloves, are available from April through October every year at designated Hy-Vee stores, NewBo City Market, Cedar Rapids Public Library locations, and City buildings. Individuals collecting litter can place their filled 1-Bag bags next to their residential GARBY garbage collection carts on their normal collection day. Groups interested in scheduling a cleanup event or signing up for the Adopt-a-Road program can do so on the City's website. For more information and to sign up to take the 1-Bag Challenge, visit CleanUpCR.com.

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