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Litter - Prevent More, Pick Up Less

Image of a garbage canLitter hurts our waterways and our community’s image. Keeping litter off the land and out of our creeks is one of the single most important things we can do to protect our water, wildlife, and environment.

The good news is everyone can help prevent pollution and protect our natural resources. Everything has a positive impact, from the simple act of picking up a piece of litter you walk by and placing it in a waste receptacle to something bigger like adopting a roadway.

Use this resource to learn more about how you can make a difference.

Prevent Your Trash from Becoming Litter

Prevent More. Pick Up Less.

  • Decline single-use materials such as straws and utensils if you don’t need them.
  • Keep it in the car. Do not toss unwanted materials out the window. You wouldn’t throw trash on your living room floor. Take unwanted materials out of the car to a proper garbage or recycling container.
  • Cut the waste. Use reusable containers and utensils.
  • Pack out what you pack in when visiting parks and other facilities.
Litter Removal | The Basics

Whether you are an individual or a group, you can pick up litter in the right-of-way anytime. Litter removed can be disposed of in the nearest waste receptacle or your garbage cart at home.

  • Wear gloves if you have them.
  •  Always wash your hands before eating or drinking.
  • Go at your own pace.
  • Clean up anytime you like.
  • Avoid cleaning up litter from private property not owned by you. If there is considerable accumulation of debris and litter on private property, report it to us at 563.326.7923, Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or use our online reporting tool at There’s even an app for that. SeeClickFix is a free app that can also be used to report debris on private property.
Litter Removal | Join a Team

Want to do something bigger than just pick up litter you walk by? Want to join a group of people doing it? Visit You will find links to upcoming cleanup events, along with safety tips and more.

Litter Removal | Create My Own Team - Pick My Own Spot

Have a group looking to pick up litter as part of a social and environmental activity or team-building activity? Interested in leading a group of waste warriors? No problem.

  •  Identify the spot you want to clean. Be sure to find out at this link if the location is public or private property.
    •  If it is private property and you are the owner, invite friends and family to assist. The trash disposal is on you.
    • If it is private property and you are not the owner. You will not be able to clean the location without the property owner’s written consent. You may wish to ask the property to help coordinate your event. Or, report the location to us for code enforcement at 563.326.7923, Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or use our online reporting tool at You can also use our free SeeClickFix app to report considerable debris on private property.
    • All other rights-of-way and public property locations are great!
  • Identify how you will secure or dispose of the material you collect. This will be part of the communication when submitting your event.
    • On weekdays before 2 p.m., the City may be able to swing by as part of regular collection and pick up the materials you collected.
    • On weekends and after hours, you will need to either secure the material collected out of public view for collection by staff on the following business day (must be placed in a right-of-way location for collection), use a dumpster you have access to and permission to use, or have everyone take a bag home for their garbage cart.
    • Litter collected outside of business hours should never be left in the right-of-way. These piles tend to grow or be strewn about.


  • Pick the date and time you want to hold the clean up event. 


  • Report what you collected according to instructions.
Litter Removal | Adopt a Spot

Our Keep America Beautiful Affiliate, ilivehere, has an Adopt a Spot program called "Make It Yours".

  • Identify the roadway you want to clean.
  • Fill out the adoption papers at this link.
  • Follow disposal guidelines. Call or email to coordinate with us at least three business days in advance of your cleanup event at 563-381-1300. Keep in mind we cannot collect after hours or on weekends. Trash will need to be secured for later pick up. We can collect on weekdays before 2 p.m.
  • Report what you collected according to instructions.

You can also find links to other Adopt a Spot programs on the website.