About Litter Legion
Why We Started + Who Founded It
The Litter Legion was founded in June 2020 by Catie Savage aka the Trash Queen of Hell’s Kitchen. After a brief respite from NYC in May 2020, Catie returned to find her neighborhood littered with to-go food & drink containers, bottles, cans and other trash.
At the same time, the Department of Sanitation’s basket truck services were reduced by 67% due to budget cuts. Rather than ignore the litter, Catie rallied community members to help clean up our streets. Together we pick up litter and empty overflowing corner baskets. We also sort out recyclables that would otherwise end up in the landfill.
Our Board of Directors includes longtime volunteer Sam Carnicelli and W47/48 Block Association Member Richard Marans. The Litter Legion is an all-volunteer run organization funded solely by community donations to cover all supply & program costs.
What We've Accomplished
We have hosted over 95 group clean ups with more than 1,300 participants including at least 350 unique volunteers. Since 2020, we have collected a combined 10,754 lbs of litter including 1,468 lbs of recycling diverted from landfill.
For those who are unable to attend our group events, cleanup kits are available at various Hell’s Kitchen businesses. Each kit contains two bags, two pairs of disposable gloves and a guide of best practices. We have distributed over 1,000 clean up kits since our start.
Our efforts have been featured on NY1, NBC’s New York Live, New York Post and Reuters.
Where We're Going
New Yorker’s have a very complex relationship with trash. We regularly navigate around stacked piles of garbage & recycling bags on the sidewalk for collection. These garbage piles may be unsightly, but the loose litter is far more of an issue.
As seen with the heavy rainfall this summer, loose litter can block catch basins and cause streets to flood. The litter that makes it into the catch basin eventually finds its way into our surrounding waterways, putting wildlife at risk. New York City was recently named the third dirtiest city in the world by TimeOut Magazine. We can no longer normalize the indifference to litter on our streets and sidewalks.
Through community engagement and education, the Litter Legion hopes to inspire
all city residents to be the change they want to see. While volunteer efforts to keep our community clean are helpful, we continue to advocate for the city to step up and
ensure all residents have clean streets.