By Macy Jenkins

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — When the snow melts and rain puddles dry up, trash lining the highway is uncovered for all to see. Caltrans is looking for volunteers to Adopt-A-Highway in Sacramento and help clean it up.

“There are some areas where they pick up a heck of a lot more trash than others!” said Kristie Peterson, an adoption specialist with California Highway Adoption Company.

Adopters get a two-mile stretch of road, their name or company logo on a sign and they can choose to schedule the cleanup with their own group or a little help from the state.

The Adopt-a-Highway program started back in 1989. Responsibilities include picking up trash, planting trees or flowers, removing graffiti, controlling vegetation.

There are two ways to adopt: As a volunteer who organizes its own group to do the work or as a sponsor, who hires a contractor instead.

“Either way they are serving the community,” Peterson said. “My crew goes out once or twice a month based on Caltrans requirements and physically picks up the litter.”

She works with roughly 50 sponsors at the California Highway Adoption Company.

There 279 active adopters in the Sacramento region. The largest is Quick Quack Car Wash.

“Keeping the cars clean, keeping the environment clean, it all just fits!” said Travis Kimball, Chief Marketing Officer for Quick Quack.

He told CBS13 the company has been cleaning up 13 sections of highway for the last six years.

“It doesn’t scream ‘Hey, look at us we’re advertising,’ it screams ‘Hey, we care about the environment!'” Kimball said.

Caltrans monitors the amount of trash picked up by each group. But if a group doesn’t meet the department’s expectations, Caltrans can issue a warning or even revoke the groups’ permit.

“It’s a commitment, and so it gives them an option to participate, serve their community, be socially responsible,” Peterson said.

Some high traffic areas like downtown Sacramento see thousands of vehicles a month, which require 24 trash pickups a year. In rural areas with less traffic, that number be as little as six times a year.


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