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More than 80 Volunteers Keep 600 pounds of Trash out of Mississippi River at National Park Week Clean-up

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National Park Week Riverfront Clean-up 2023 - Veolia group picks up trash along riverfront

As the pinnacle event of National Park Week at Gateway Arch National Park, the 2023 Riverfront Clean-up saw record-breaking attendance and record-breaking trash removal.

A record 81 volunteers participated and collected a total of 604.38 pounds of material from the riverfront. This included 10.27 pounds of metal, 27.86 pounds of recyclable plastic, and 566.25 pounds of landfill waste.

""This is my second year of cleaning up [the riverfront] and I really enjoyed it! The river is the entryway to the city for a lot of people who come from out of town. This is how they first see St. Louis, and I want them to have a good experience," said one Volunteer. "It's also important to me because this our our river. I canoe and hike near it and I want to enjoy it."

Spearheaded by the Volunteer Program at the Gateway Arch, the event was additionally co-hosted by five other community organizations – Beyond Plastics, Living Lands & Waters, Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative, Missouri Stream Team, and Republic Services.

Republic Services took the lead in sorting and weighing the collected materials. 

Several St. Louis businesses and institutions also took part with participating teams, including Bi-State Metro and Veolia.

“The turnout for this event was incredible, and what was even more amazing was the enthusiasm and passion each volunteer brought with them for cleaning up the Riverfront at Gateway Arch National Park,” said Meagan Patterson, volunteer manager at Gateway Arch Park Foundation. “It’s volunteers like these that truly make a monumental impact in our community.”

More photos from the Riverfront Clean-up are posted on our Facebook page.

Learn more about volunteering at Gateway Arch National Park, and save the date for our next big “designated day of service,” National Public Lands Day on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023.

Support efforts like this one that keep St. Louis’ “front door” cleaner and healthier for all by becoming a Foundation member or making a one-time donation.