In November 2012, a group of local activists got together to address the abundance of litter in Mill Valley. The group included representatives of the Outdoor Art Club, the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, Mill Valley StreamKeepers, Mill Valley Rotary Club and other residents who were eager to save our wildlife, streets and waterways from the negative impact of debris that is too often present and sometimes ignored.

Fast forward five years later, and Clean Mill Valley, the result of that gathering, is a multi-faceted organization dedicated to the beautification of Mill Valley. Clean Mill Valley programs include working with merchants, schools, government agencies and other environmental organizations to prevent litter from getting around. Nearly 200 local businesses are members of Clean Mill Valley, having pledged to keep their premises litter free and even train employees about recycling. 

“While our many cleanups over the last five years have had a big impact on our environment, it is our advocacy and educational efforts that we think have made the biggest changes,” co-founders Joan Murray and Jill Young said. “We work with City of Mill Valley’s Public Works Department, whose staff provides us with the large orange garbage bags that you may see as we fill them. And when objects are too bulky or heavy for us, they will retrieve them for proper disposal. Thank you Public Works!

Murray and Young are heading this week to inaugural Trash Summit, an event set organized by Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program (MCSTOPPP) and local anti-litter coalitions, collectively referred to as Clean Marin, which includes Clean Mill Valley.

The goal of the Trash Summit is to bolster partnerships between anti-litter volunteers and local government, empowering collaborative litter prevention and cleanup efforts. The Clean Marin groups – such as Clean Mill ValleySan Rafael CleanNovato Streetscape CommitteeAll One OceanMarin Clean Highways, and others – have been working diligently to reduce trash in our communities. The Trash Summit will feature a panel of guest speakers highlighting the accomplishments of Clean Marin volunteer programs such as Adopt-a-Spot, Clean Business Programs, and other organized trash cleanup initiatives.

The speaker panel includes keynote speaker David Lewis of Save the Bay, as well as Marin County Supervisors Dennis Rodoni and Katie Rice, and staff from the offices of Supervisors Damon Connolly and Kate Sears. Key partners from Gallinas Watershed Council, Friends of Corte Madera Creek, Marin County Parks, Conservation Corps North Bay, Zero Waste Marin, Marin’s cities and towns, and other regional agencies are expected to attend.

“The event will provide valuable information and resources on how to join or start your own Clean Marin group,” said Rob Carson, Administrator of MCSTOPPP. “Long term, this is about inspiring all the people and groups to get involved in trash cleanup and work together to find solutions for our watershed. Most people don’t want to see trash in their community or in the creeks, and have ideas about how to improve the situation. We want to have that momentum turn into to action on a grassroots level.”


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