Elk Grove Anti-Trash Volunteers

Started by two bored introverts during the 2020 COVID shutdown, Elk Grove Anti-Trash Community Cleanups (now called Elk Grove Anti-Trash Volunteers) were organized to tackle the city of Elk Grove’s ongoing litter and illegal dumping problems in its parks, trails, waterways, fields, and streets.  It is made up entirely of volunteers of all ages, races, and ability levels, all equally enthusiastic and dedicated to de-trashing the city. Volunteers of the group have experienced its friendly, family-like environment, creating bonds and friendships forged through a shared interest to eliminate litter and exercising in a fun and accessible way.  Likewise, the group has established connections with various city officials and public departments, fostering an efficient method to acquire resources and coordinate removal of trash and bulk items. 

Ultimately, the Elk Grove Anti-Trash group’s success stems from its enthusiastic core of 25-30 volunteers (with more joining each month) and the generous support of the city and CCSD (Cosumnes Community Services District). 

During the first three years, EGAT organized weekly, Saturday cleanups (weather permitting), and created a dedicated following on social media with 1.2 K “likes” and 1.4 K “followers” on Facebook, and through Instagram and Nextdoor an even broader audience. Midway through 2023, the group changed its schedule and now offers organized cleanups on the first and third Saturday of each month. The group believes its efforts have caused a reduction in overall trash in the city along with the increase of government services to improve their own cleanups along roadways, storm water channels, trails and parks. The City of Elk Grove dedicated $500K in funding during 2022 (and ongoing) to keep waterways and drainage areas cleared. However, EGAT volunteers still find themselves organizing cleanups in our creeks and streams because we believe it takes a community to care for a community. 

2021 saw the group receive the Mayor’s Volunteer Award for Service Organizations and Groups. To this day, the group receives supplies as needed from the City’s residential waste hauler, Republic Services. The CCSD and the City also remain strong partners should our group need supplies or support. 

Over the past year, the Sacramento Area Creeks Council has supported EGAT by reimbursing for stickers, replacement wagons, and the ever-treasured meals we enjoy after a good cleanup. What a wonderful way to reward volunteers. And we always welcome the roll of heavy duty garbage bags that Mark Baker will toss into our wagons from time to time 😉.

A number of Elk Grove volunteers regularly help out their River City Waterway Alliance counterparts with cleanups along the Sacramento and American Rivers and tributaries. It is important to have partnerships and friendships that span city borders, so we can work in tandem to get the job done.