City manager's 1Bag Challenge aims to make Cedar Rapids "cleanest city in America"


    The city manager's 1Bag Challenge has been going on since 2012, resulting in 10,000 bags of litter being removed from the streets.

    "It is a project that's near and dear to my heart as city manager and also a Cedar Rapidian," Jeff Pomeranz says of his 1Bag Challenge.

    When Pomeranz moved to Cedar Rapids in 2010, he noticed the city wasn't as clean as it could be. In 2012, the 1Bag Challenge was born.

    "We estimate we've probably picked up around 10,000 bags from around the community," he says.

    The challenge has a simple concept: the city provides trash bags at various locations around town and citizens can take them to fill them with litter.

    "It's made me see plastic bags a whole lot different, and straws and things like that because they do not disintegrate," says Tricia Miller, an engineering admin at Cargill who regularly takes part in cleanups.

    She coordinates the Adopt-a-Road program at Cargill, which is also a part of 1Bag cleanup. She's also part of one of several private groups that clean up their own neighborhoods; her neighborhood near Ely Road sees a lot of unique trash.

    "Tires, computers, things that people are just like throwing out their window,” Miller says. “Sometimes we have a contest on who can find the most interesting items."

    To make the challenge as simple as possible, any collected litter can be disposed of with your regular trash. Just leave the full bag next to your GARBY cart, no extra sticker required.

    "If every citizen that's able and would be willing to pick up one bag of garbage, you know, we'd have 100,000 bags of garbage taken care of and we'd have one of the cleanest cities in America," Pomeranz says.

    A full list of cleanup events and locations to pick up bags is on the city's Clean Up CR website.

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