Nine years after a group of local activists got together to address the abundance of litter in town, Clean Mill Valley, powered by a group of dedicated volunteers and with support from the Mill Valley Chamber, the Outdoor Art Club, the Rotary Club and the former Bloomathon have all long been dedicated to improving the appearance of our town and preserving our natural environment.
The organization’s merchant program is incredibly popular, with more than 200 local businesses having pledged to keep their premises litter free and even train employees about recycling. Clean Mill Valley also welcomes volunteers outside city limits or those not in the immediate vicinity, who can always look to Clean Marin.
An additional 40-plus volunteers participate in Clean Mill Valley’s Adopt-a-Spot program, in which they focus on a particular area – a street, a local park or even a CalTrans Park and Ride lot. Residents have surely spotted longtime residents Kay and Larry Anderson, who start their morning walk with litter pickers in hand and span a route that encircles most of Mill Valley. Dedicated volunteer Peggy Katcher (the poppy lady) is one of the organization’s tireless volunteers removing litter, weeding, and donating the lovely redwood tree at the corner of Tower and East Blithedale.
Above at left are five dedicated moms who have adopted Miller Avenue from Tam High to Whole Foods. Their efforts bleed over to Camino Alto as well. Friends since their babies were a year old, they have time to pick up litter now that their offspring are 26 years old. They’ve been picking up debris for more than five years in places like the area at Camino Alto and Miller Avenue, above. The bags, when combined, held approximately 90 gallons of trash.
“Our ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of litter in our environment, and that takes outreach and education,” Clean Mill Valley co-founder Joan Murray says. “We work with property owners, schools and businesses and partner with the City and their code enforcement officer, if necessary.”
Lately, the organization has been focused on “More or Less or More and Less (Litter, that is),” as they are seeing more trash on the streets than pre-pandemic. But on the flip side, they rarely encounter a plastic bag these days and spot fewer packing pellets and styrofoam, which is heartening. “We do pick up scads of masks, hair bands and dental floss holders,” Murray says.
Since 2012, Clean Mill Valley have removed a staggering 6.14 tons or 34,123 gallons of trash that is no longer on our streets and in our waterways. Thank one of their volunteers for that. Visit them here for more info, and if or you need a Clean Mill Valley decal, email firstname.lastname@example.org.