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  • Keep RC Beautiful Staff

Keep RC Beautiful Litter Bowl ‘23 Kicks Off September 15th

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

All Rutherford County High Schools Compete to Pick Up the Most Litter

Rutherford County, NC - Sep 12, 2023: It’s that time of year again - Keep Rutherford County Beautiful’s annual Litter Bowl is back! Each September, Rutherford County high schools enter into a competition to see which school can pick up the most litter. The 2023 Litter Bowl will kick off this Friday, on September 15th and will run through Monday, September 25th. The goal is to remove litter from our public spaces including roadsides, parking lots, public parks, trails and campuses, while encouraging the next generation to become environmental stewards. The Litter Bowl coincides with other litter sweeps statewide, and supports the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) litter initiative. This competition is not limited to students. Rutherford County citizens are highly encouraged to form litter pickup groups to show support of their favorite local high school while giving back to the community.

This year, some rules have changed to streamline the event. In previous years, the amount of litter collected was counted by weight and participants were tasked with bringing the collected litter to designated dumpsters on their school’s grounds. This year, the process will be much simpler and easier. Participants will leave their collected bags on roadsides and report them to Keep Rutherford County Beautiful (KRCB) for NCDOT or local municipalities to pick up. The winning school will be determined by the total number of bags collected rather than by weight. KRCB will supply safety gloves, vests, pickers and NCDOT trash bags to any team willing to collect.

Last year, over eighteen thousand pounds of litter were eliminated by eight Rutherford County high schools. This year, an unprecedented amount of schools have joined the Litter Bowl. Keep Rutherford County Beautiful hopes to break records from last year with nine committed schools as well as Rutherford County’s homeschool program: Chase High School, East Rutherford High School, Lake Lure Classical Academy, Masters Academy, Rutherford Early College High School (REaCH), R-S Central High School, Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy, Trinity Christian School, and Rutherford Opportunity Center.

“The new rules are even more inclusive!” says Jenna Bailey, KRCB Executive Director. “Now instead of having to cart the collected litter to the school, teams leave it on the roadside and then we remove it. This opens up the playing field and is more safe for the participants. The only caveat is that teams must use the NCDOT bags we distribute and submit a collection report through our website,” If you are not getting your supplies through the school, contact Jenna and her team at 828.278.7840 to register and get supplies.

The winning school will take home the Litter Bowl Trophy, made by Jordan Jackson of Night Owl Iron Works, a local blacksmith and “Forged” winner. Previous winners include Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy 2019 and 2022, and Lake Lure Classical Academy in 2021. The name of the winning school along with the amount of collected litter will be added to a plaque on the trophy.

Participation is open to all Rutherford County residents. Anyone over the age of 12 may pick up litter in support of their school of choice. Students under the age of 18 picking up litter off campus must be supervised by a chaperone at least 21 years of age. Parents and faculty are encouraged to get involved. No household or inside trash is allowed. Appropriate locations to pick up litter are on roadways, trails, parks and parking lots and around campus.

Keep Rutherford County Beautiful’s mascot, Roxi the Racoon, will be attending high school football games and school events to encourage the students and cheer them on.

The Litter Bowl is a great way to teach students to give back to their community and to care for the environment. Participating students can earn service hours as well as become eligible to apply for KRCB’s Green Scholarship, which is awarded to two students each spring. It is the hope of KRCB to inspire the next generation to take care of the spaces where we live, work and play.

Keep Rutherford County Beautiful began as an Earth Day litter pickup and has transformed into a movement throughout Rutherford County, North Carolina. Neighbors, industry leaders, business owners, schools and municipalities have joined forces to change the way we define community, leading programs and initiatives to propel Rutherford County's beautification forward by tackling the problems arising from our disposable economy. As of 2023, KRCB became an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s largest community improvement organization. This milestone is a testament to the work the organization has put in since 2017 and the progress they have made. Together, we are taking action to love where we live, work and play.

For more information about KRCB, visit their website, Facebook page @KeepRCNCBeautiful, Instagram page @keeprcncbeautiful, or email

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