Frequently Asked Questions

Volunteering for Adopt a Street

How big of a commitment is ‘Adopting’ a street?

Adopt a Street program is designed to be flexible – it is on your time and at a frequency that works for you – so the commitment you make to your adopted streets is up to you.

Do I have to live along the street that I ‘adopt’?

No, but we do encourage you choose an area that you frequent and has meaning to you.

Who can participate in Adopt a Street?

We encourage the participation of anyone who is interested in cleaning up litter along Seattle streets. This includes individuals, families, community groups, schools, churches, businesses, and other organizations.

Can I adopt streets outside of city limits?

Our program is only for City of Seattle streets. For more information about adoption opportunities outside Seattle, please contact King County Adopt-A-Road at (206) 296-3807 or
Washington State DOT Adopt-A-Highway Program at (425) 739-3730.

How many streets can I adopt?

We don’t have a maximum limit on length of street that a volunteer can adopt, but we do encourage volunteers to choose a length of street that is manageable. You can always clean along additional streets without ‘adopting’ the street.

Working with Other Volunteers

Can I sign up with other individuals as a group?

Absolutely. We just ask that you and your group members report your cleanups using the name of your group.

What if the street I want to adopt is already adopted?

We know it takes a village to keep streets clean, especially in high-use areas. We welcome and support overlapping adoptions and co-adoptions. We love to see volunteers and neighbors support each other! Each adoption person or group will still be displayed on our map, even if they overlap.

How can I find out if there are other Adopt a Street volunteers in my neighborhood?

View the Adopt a Street map for currently adopted streets. We don’t share contact information of other volunteers but would be glad to send an email sharing your contact info with them. If you wish to be connected, contact us at adoptastreet@seattle.gov or (206) 684-7647.

My neighbor wants to pick up litter with me, can I request a litter kit for them, or do they have to sign up separately?

Since you are an Adopt a Street volunteer with us, you would be welcome to pick up any additional supplies you need for others in your group. Your neighbor is also welcome to sign up separately, but it is not necessary.

Earning an Adopt a Street Sign

After adopting a street, how do I get an Adopt a Street sign?

Adopt a Street volunteers who have committed to cleaning up a minimum of 1-mile of street, at least 4 times a year and a minimum of 75 volunteer hours, are eligible for one street sign. After you complete your first year of cleanups, please e-mail adoptastreet@seattle.gov to get the process started.
 

Once an Adopt a Street sign is installed, how often does my group need to clean the area?

If you are a Sign Adopter with Adopt a Street, you are committing to cleaning your area a minimum of 4 times per year.

Adopt a Street Supplies

What kind of supplies will the City provide if I adopt a street?

The City has the following supplies available to support volunteers in cleaning up their street:

  • Litter pick up tools/grabbers
  • Canvas Gloves
  • Plastic Disposable Gloves
  • Safety Vests
  • Yellow Adopt a Street Trash Bags
  • Paper Bags for compostable material
  • Sharps containers
  • Brooms
  • Dustpans

I am out of yellow bags. How can I get more?

Let us know when you are running low on supplies by emailing us or filling out the online supply request form. We will work with you to make sure you have all the supplies you need and can make other arrangements if you can’t pick them up. You can also stop by one of the City of Seattle Customer Service Centers near you to pick up bags – we tend to keep those well stocked with yellow bags.  

Is there a limit on supplies?

We are glad to support you with the supplies you need for your cleanup. We are a publicly funded program, and we do have to be thoughtful about how these resources are shared among our 800+ Adopt a Street volunteers.

Do I have to give back the Adopt a Street supplies that you gave me?

It depends. For individuals and smaller groups that plan to clean up regularly throughout the year, we are glad to have you hold on to the supplies. For larger group cleanups, we would love to get them back from you so that those supplies can support other large cleans when not in use by your group.

Do you provide insurance for volunteers?

Yes. Volunteers in our program are covered under the City’s Volunteer Insurance Program. Adopters are required to record the name of each volunteer who is participating in the cleanup event on the Volunteer Safety Liability Waiver.

Bag Pick Up

How do I report my bags for pick up?

Seattle Public Utilities provides trash bag pick-up services for 2 or more bags of collected litter on public property. Note, we CANNOT pick up bags on private property. Please place the bags on the edge of the sidewalk nearest to the street and out of the way of pedestrians.

We have several ways you can report your bags for pick up:

  1. Submit a cleanup report form
  2. Email to adoptastreet@seattle.gov
  3. Call (206) 684-7647

* If you are requesting trash bag pick up, please provide the exact location of trash bags including the intersection. You must have collected two or more bags, and the bags must be left on public property to be picked up. A picture is always helpful too!

How quickly will my bags be picked up?

Once Adopt a Street staff receive your report that your bags are ready for pick up, we dispatch for collection. Bags are then picked up between 1-4 days.

I collected less than 2 full yellow bags. What are other options for disposal?

We dispatch our crews to pick up only where there are 2 or more full yellow Adopt a Street bags of trash collected. If you have less than that, here are some other options you might consider:

  • If you have room in your weekly garbage, you can place it in there for pick up. Be sure it fits, otherwise you could get charged extra in your weekly collection.
  • You can keep the yellow bags at place where you can add collected litter to it each time you go out. Once you have two full bags, you can place them in front of your house and report them for pick up. Note, please do not place near where your weekly bins get collected.
  • You could place in or beside public litter cans near you (you must use a yellow bag for this option).
  • Call us, we have some other ideas for how to make this work better for you! 

Can I pre-arrange a pick up of the bags of litter I collect?

If you are planning a community cleanup event and know when/where bags will be ready for pick up, please send an email to adoptastreet@seattle.gov or call (206) 684-7647 and we will schedule a pre-arranged pick up. Please provide at least one week notice for the request.

What about larger items that don’t fit in my Adopt a Street bags?

You can leave larger items that don’t fit in a bag next to the bags of litter that you have collected. All items will be collected at the same time. If you see an illegally dumped item on your pick up, that is a good place to leave your bags next to.

If I take my bags to the transfer station myself, can I get a discount?

No, unfortunately we cannot provide transfer station discounts for volunteers. BUT we do provide up to two vouchers for Adopt a Street volunteers a year, which will allow you to dispose of up to 1100 pounds of collected litter/debris at no charge to you.

What do I do if I find a needle?

Do not put needles or sharps containers in the same bag as your other waste. They must be disposed of separately. If you have a sharps container and are comfortable disposing of the needle yourself, here is how you can do so safely:

  1. Wear gloves and have a litter grabber.
  2. Open the sharp container and place it on the ground.
  3. While standing, pick up the syringe with the litter grabber (keep the syringe away from your body) and place the syringe in the sharp container. Make sure the needle point is facing down and away from the container opening. The sharp containers provided through Adopt a Street can hold up to 8 syringes safely.
  4. When you have finished placing the syringes in the sharp container, close the lid of the container.

You can dispose of sharps containers for free at your nearest transfer station or in 23 sharps collection boxes located throughout Seattle. If you are unable or uncomfortable with picking up the sharps, contact the Illegal Dumping hotline at (206) 684-7587 and crews will pick up within 24 hours of report.