Special Alert

Clean & Green Poconos

Here in the Poconos, we live clean and green lives; practicing an environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

The first Pick Up the Poconos Day in Monroe County had 327 volunteers who filled 741 bags of litter, covering approximately 88 miles! Check back for information on our Spring 2019 Pick Up the Poconos event.

We’ve provided some resources and tips for visitors, local communities, and residents to stay clean and green in the Pocono Mountains to help reduce litter. A simple rule to follow is to treat the places you visit with the same respect you would treat your own home and community. Leave behind only footprints when exploring the Poconos. If you see litter, and it’s safe to do so, pick it up. Try to educate others on the negative environmental impact of littering, and the positive impact of “going green.” Help us stay green and reduce litter; Pick Up the Poconos with us!

Pick Up The Poconos

Help the Poconos Stay Clean & Green

Prevention – Hold onto your trash until you can dispose of it properly. Never throw anything outside a vehicle’s window. Make sure truck tarps and straps are held down tight so no debris can escape. Do not overfill garbage cans or dumpsters. Secure garbage cans from animals like raccoons and bears.

Leave No Trace – When exploring the Poconos, take any trash with you. Leave only footprints on hiking trails, rivers, and downtown streets.

Come Prepared – If you are visiting for the day, create a plan for the trash you may generate. If there are no trash cans where you will be exploring, bring a trash bag with you and find the closest public trash drop-off - or put it in the trunk and bring it home. Never leave trash on the side of the road, or in any unsolicited area.

Pick it Up – If you see litter and it’s safe to do so, pick it up. If you are going hiking, bring along an empty plastic bag and pick up any trash you see as you go. If you are visiting for a few days, make it a goal to pick up at least one piece of garbage per day. Every day is Earth Day in the Pocono Mountains!

Spread the Word – The more that people are aware of the effects of littering, the less litter there will be. If you see somebody littering, tell them the consequences.

Reduce Energy Use – When you leave your hotel room, turn off the AC/heat, lights, and television. Reduce the amount of water used for bathing or showering. Participate in the hotel linen programs or let the hotel know that it's not necessary to change your sheets and towels every day.

Reduce Toiletries Waste – When visiting, bring your own shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc. to reduce the amount of packaging and resources required to produce the mini containers in your lodging. Leave little bottles of amenities in the guestroom if unopened.

Reduce Transportation – Enjoy walking tours and walk where sensible. Carpool and use public transportation when available. Try to group your destinations for the most efficient route to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

Recycle – Participate in hotel recycling programs by placing recyclables in appropriate bins.

Inform Others on the Nearest Dump and Recycling Sites – Rental properties should provide instructions on trash pick-up or drop-off. Nearby residents can point visitors in the right direction for the nearest dump or recycling center.

Get Involved – See what your community is doing to help battle litter and help out. Or, plan your own community clean-up using the 5-step guide below. Refer to our Safety Tips and list of Resources for more help.

Keep the Poconos Clean & Green

Organize Your Own Community Clean-Up

Improve the image of where you live and what you see every day, help the environment, and get to know your neighbors. Or, compile your coworkers and clean-up your jobsite or the property of your work building! We’ve compiled a 5-step guide to help you get started.

  1. Assess the Options
    1. How much will you be cleaning up? How many garbage bags and gloves might you need? Note where the worst mess is, its nature, and what could conceivably be done with a few hours' labor from several people.
  2. Work with the Community
    1. Does your community have any organizations within it? Try working with your community’s neighborhood watch, residents’ association, etc. If not, organize a group of neighbors who share your concerns.
    2. Certain municipalities have volunteer litter clean-up teams, like Middle Smithfield Township’s “1000 Feet of Street,” and Chestnuthill Township’s “Pride in Chestnuthill.”
  3. Agree on a Date and Time
    1. Set a time and date that most people are likely to attend, such as on a weekend. Spread the word by talking to your neighbors, posting on social media, or setting up an event on Facebook and inviting members of the community.
  4. Purchase Needed Equipment
    1. You’ll need garbage bags, gloves, and a way to dispose of the filled garbage bags; taking them to a proper dumpsite, renting a dumpster, etc.
  5. Offer Rewards
    1. Have some type of incentive or reward; coffee, cakes, snacks, or fruit. To make it fun, see who can find the most unique piece of trash.

Some road maintainers such as PennDOT, or your township/county/municipality, like to know when groups are out picking up litter, so they can help minimize any risk. They may do this by restricting hours to between dawn and dusk, not allowing clean ups on high-traffic days such as holidays, and even closing roads to through traffic during clean ups. There is no special permit needed to pick up litter, but it is recommended to contact and coordinate with your township, county, or municipality office. They also may be able to help with bags, gloves, cones, etc. and it would allow them to retrieve bags when your group is finished picking up.

Litter Pick-Up Safety Tips

  • Wear reflective clothing (such as a reflective vest) when working on, or alongside, a roadway.
  • Wear protective clothing as well, such as long pants, closed-toe shoes, and safety glasses.
  •  If you are working 15 feet or closer to the road, make sure you put up cones or signs warning drivers.
    • A good rule of thumb is to place signs or cones 10x the speed limit before the start of the work area (ex. If the speed limit is 35mph, place the cones or signs 350ft before the work area).
  • Be aware of traffic and do not cross the road where it is not safe.
  • Be sure to keep bug spray, sunscreen, a cell phone, a first aid kit, snacks, and water on hand.
  • Park all cars as far off the road as you can, and carpool when possible to reduce number of cars on the side of the road.
  • Work only during non-peak travel times.
  • Work on one side of the road at a time and face oncoming traffic.
  • Do not wear headphones to listen to audio; you will need to be able to listen for traffic.
  • Be alert for hidden holes and rocks.
  • Watch out for plants and animals that may be dangerous.
    • Be alert for stinging insects, rodents, snakes, deer, and bears. Leave them alone if spotted.
    • Avoid poison ivy (“leaves of three, let it be”) and giant hogweed (8-14’ tall stems with small white flowers).
  • When finding hazardous, biohazardous, or radioactive materials, note location and call the police. A good rule of thumb is: If you do not know what the item is, don’t touch it.
  • Do not try to pick up tires, heavy objects, or roadkill. Instead, call 1-800-FIX-ROAD and a time will be scheduled to pick it up.

Scenic Views in the Pocono Mountains

Resources and Tips

  • Call 1-800-FIX-ROAD to have heavy objects, tires, and roadkill removed that you spot on the sides of roadways
  • Inquire about the garbage policy when renting a house or cabin in the Poconos
  • Monroe County recycling locations
  • Wayne County recycling center and other recycling resources in Wayne County
  • Responsible waste disposal of tires, CFL & fluorescent bulbs, and electronics for Monroe County residents
  • Wayne County solid waste disposal locations
  • Promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable living with SEEDS
  • Contact and coordinate with your township, county, or municipality office if you are planning to do a pick-up on your own
    • Helps reduce risk in picking up litter along a roadway
    • They may be able to help with bags, gloves, cones, etc.
    • It allows them to retrieve bags when your group is finished picking up

Consequences of Littering

There are many types of littering, but all have consequences. Any improper disposal of trash is against the law in Pennsylvania. Analyze this chart for more information on how Pennsylvania enforces litter laws. Fines can run litterers hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on severity.

Common types of litter take years to decompose. Here’s a breakdown of typical litter objects and how long they typically take to decompose:

Cigarette butts: 1-5 years
Plastic bags: 10-20 years
Aluminum cans: 80-100 years
Plastic bottles: 450 years
Glass bottles: 1 million years

That’s time that the litter will be sitting in the environment, harming animals, effecting groundwater, breeding bacteria, and spoiling the beauty of nature.

Pick Up the Poconos Campaign

You may notice billboards, television and radio spots, sponsored social media posts, and segments in the news about Picking Up the Poconos. The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau (PMVB) is using this campaign to shine a light on the litter and pollution of our beautiful, natural area. The bureau is working with numerous local waste disposal organizations, clean-up crews, community leaders, and more, to battle the problem. An example is Keep Hawley-Honesdale Beautiful, and organization that targets problem areas of litter in the areas of Hawley and Honesdale.

The PMVB has adopted two roadways in the Poconos; one in Pike County by the Lake Wallenpaupack Visitors Center, and one on 209 in Brodheadsville. PMVB employees picked up 30 bags of trash total along sections of Route 209 in Brodheadsville and Route 6 in Hawley on July 11, 2018.

The PMVB has hired Adopt A Highway Maintenance Corporation to clean six times per year along Route 80 (both East and West) from the Delaware Water Gap to Tobyhanna at the Route 380 split. In addition, the contract has been extended for the corporation to clean Route 380 (both North and South) from the Route 80 junction to Route 423, a distance of about 25 miles. As of October 30, 2018, the company has filled over 1,448 bags of litter along Route 80 East and West and Route 380 North and South.

Our official campaign hashtag is #PickUpThePoconos. Are you helping pick up the Poconos? Share your photos on social media with the hashtag to spread the word!

On June 28, 2018 a bill actioned by Senator Mario Scavello was passed to reduce littering across Pennsylvania by requiring offenders to pick up trash. Under the bill, first offenders are required to pick up litter or illegally dumped trash for between five and 30 hours within six months, in addition to the existing fine of $50 to $300. For a second or subsequent offense, the offender may also be required to pick up litter or illegally dumped trash for 30 to 100 hours over one year, in addition to the existing fine of $300 to $1,000. This legislation has been fully supported by the PMVB.

Legislation was also passed to officially recognize September 29, 2018 as “Pick Up the Poconos Day” to  serve to acknowledge the efforts made by the PMVB to keep Pennsylvania clean and beautiful, as well as continue Pennsylvania’s efforts to control litter, bolster Pennsylvania’s strong tourism industry, and encourage other areas of Pennsylvania to coordinate county-wide or regional litter pick-up efforts.

The official Pick Up the Poconos Day was organized by the PMVB, along with Monroe 2030, Monroe County Commissioners, and the Monroe County Council of Governments. Locations across all of Monroe County joined forces to Pick Up the Poconos on September 29, 2018. This event gathered 327 volunteers who filled 741 bags of litter, covering approximately 88 miles of roads!

Pocono Properties Taking Action on Waste

  • Camelback Resort – Does a yearly litter pick-up and has staff periodically throughout the year pick up the trash on property, along Camelback Road, and parts of Sullivan Trail.
  • Kittatinny Canoes – Every summer a 3-day clean-up of the Delaware River is held. 
  • Pocono Raceway – Picks up litter on Long Pond Road from Route 115 to Stoney Hollow Road.
  • The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort – Annual River Road Clean-Up through Keep PA Beautiful.
  • Friends Of Cherry Valley (FOCV) – Picked up over 30 bags of roadside litter just this year along their Adopt-A-Highway location on Route 191; Cherry Valley Road to the Monroe/Northampton County line.
  • Great Wolf Lodge – Phasing out single-use plastic straws, opting to use more environmentally-friendly, paper-based straws that are able to be recycled.
  • Stroudsmoor Country Inn - Does a yearly litter pick-up and has staff pick up trash on property throughout the year. Picks up litter between Route 191 and I-80 four times a year and is a 20-year sponsor in the Adopt-A-Highway location on I-80 Exit 307.

Pocono Properties Staying Green

  • Pocono Raceway – Just one initiative to stay green is their solar farm committed to producing clean energy for the business, as well as some spillover for local homes.
  • Split Rock Resort & Golf Club – Collect all used shampoo and conditioner bottles and soaps, send them to a program called Clean the World, and they then recycle them and give them to children in need.
  • Mountain View Vineyard Winery & Brewery – Dry farming techniques cut back on water waste, mulching around vines promotes beneficial insects, and geothermal and solar energy naturally control conditions in the winemaking facility.
  • Barley Creek Brewing Company – Maintains a three-star certified green status from the Green Restaurant Association. Spent grain from the brewery and distillery gets recycled to a farmer, LED efficient lights and other equipment are installed throughout the property, environmentally-friendly to-go containers are used, and spent grain millings are even used to make handcrafted dog biscuits!

Tesla Charging Stations - Several Pocono Mountains destinations offer electric car charging through Tesla Motors’ Destination Charging Program: The French Manor Inn and Spa  The Settlers Inn at Bingham Park  Ledges Hotel  Cocoon Coffee House  Times House B&B  The Crossings Premium Outlets

Delaware Highlands Conservancy and our Green Lodging Partners - With every reservation, guests at participating hotels contribute directly to the Delaware Highlands Conservancy and the protection of clean waters, healthy lands and abundant outdoor recreation opportunities in the Upper Delaware River region. Green Lodging Partners in the Pocono Mountains include: The Lodge at Woodloch  Harrington House B&B  Hotel Fauchere • James Manning House B&B  Ledges Hotel  Roebling Inn on the Delaware  Santosha on the Ridge  The Settlers Inn  Woodloch Resort

For more information on how properties in the Poconos are keeping it green, visit the PMVB’s blog, Spotlight on Sustainability.