About Litter Legion
Why We Started + Who Founded It
The Hell’s Kitchen 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.
The Hell’s Kitchen Litter Legion is funded solely by community donations to cover all supply costs.
What We've Accomplished
Since our start, we have hosted over 60 group clean-ups with over 500 participants including at least 150 unique volunteers. So far in 2021, we've collected 70 bags of recycling and over 2,000 lbs of loose litter. For those who are unable to attend our group events, cleanup kits are available for pick up 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 400 cleanup kits since February. Our efforts have been featured on NY1, NBC’s New York Live 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 Hell’s Kitchen 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.