Is litter in Lansing worse this year?


Maybe, but Clerk Payne says it’s still possible to make a difference

by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (April 14, 2018) – Lansing’s Community Clean-up Day (April 28) is an annual proactive effort that involves up to 200 residents in picking up litter and building community. The concept was originated by Clerk Vivian Payne nine years ago, and she believes there has been a gradual increase in litter over the past nine years.

But Payne also believes that this year in particular, the problem of litter feels worse than usual. The fact that April temperatures this year are about 20 degrees cooler than average means that plants are greening and flowering later, and shrubs are still bare. That means nothing is hiding the litter on the ground.

The positive outcome of winter’s lengthy grip on Lansing is that highly visible litter is easier to pick up. “I think at this year’s Community Clean-up Day we can really make a good dent in the litter,” said Payne. “Spring is so late, and things are not overgrown, so we’ll be able to get a lot of it.”

Payne is hoping, however, that the sun will make an appearance on Saturday, April 28, the date of the Clean-up Day. Typically, about 200 volunteers sign up to participate. When weather is good on the day, most of the volunteers and sometimes a few extra people show up. But a day of cold, rain, and wind can reduce the numbers to 100 or 150 participants.

Easy registration

Payne needs people to register ahead of time so she can assign routes, provide enough trash bags and recycling bags, arrange pick-up of the collected trash, and plan enough food for the post-clean-up lunch. She’ll accept registrations right up to the day, though she prefers when volunteers give her as much notice as possible.

A sign-up form is available on the Village website:

  • Community Clean-up Day 2018 sign-up

Visible difference

For people who doubt whether two hours of clean-up can make a difference, Payne refers to a spontaneous clean-up effort that Village staff participated in on Friday, April 13. The idea came up in a regular staff meeting, and word spread. When Payne arrived at the designated meeting place on Torrence Avenue, she was delighted to find a crowd that included members of the Fire and Police Departments, workers from the Building Department and Public Works, office staff, staff and volunteers from the Youth Center, volunteers from the community, elected officials, and a few local business owners. People were excited to be doing something tangible to beautify the community.

And the difference was visible—

Before and after photos from a spontaneous clean-up effort on Friday, April 13. (Photo: Village of Lansing)

The April 28 Community Clean-up Day is another opportunity for residents to make a visible difference in Lansing—

  • Sign up for Clean-up!


  1. I was under the impression that an ordinance was passed to force people to keep the alleys clean. The alleys near Torrance Ave really need to be forced to clean up the garbage. One house has a TV in the alley for over a year.

Comments are closed.