Keeping Santa Fe Beautiful: Combating Litter Through Community Partnership

People at litter clean up

When it comes to the vibrancy of our local environment, there's a collective responsibility in maintaining Santa Fe’s beautiful landscapes and unique ecosystems. A major focus in the Sustainable Santa Fe 25-Year Plan is preserving the city’s environment is preventing litter and waste production. The City works towards this goal in public-private partnership with Keep Santa Fe Beautiful (KSFB), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that raises awareness about litter prevention, organizes local cleanups, and invests in efforts to keep our community clean, green, and beautiful.

The Significance of Litter Prevention and Keep Santa Fe Beautiful

Litter isn't just an eyesore – it can have far-reaching impacts on the environment, wildlife, public health, and the overall quality of life. When left unaddressed, litter can disrupt ecosystems, pollute water and soil, diminish air quality, and increase the risk of health and safety concerns. To monitor current conditions, KSFB conducts Litter Index Surveys with City Council members on an annual basis.

In partnership with Santa Fe’s Environmental Services Division (ESD) and the Parks Division, KSFB organizes and conducts various litter clean-up events throughout the year. These events not only ensure a cleaner city but also offer opportunities for community members to learn more about environmental stewardship and litter prevention. Through their educational efforts, KSFB is committed to instilling a sense of responsibility and consciousness about the impact of littering and the importance of waste reduction.

Get Involved with Keep Santa Fe Beautiful

If you want to play an active role in keeping Santa Fe beautiful, there are numerous opportunities to get involved with KSFB just this month. Mark your calendars for some upcoming events that allow you to contribute directly to the cause:

  • September 1: Zozobra 2023 
    1. As part of the Zozobra festivities, KSFB will be on the scene to facilitate proper waste disposal and contribute to post-event cleanup. It's a chance to enjoy the festivities while also making a positive impact on the environment.
  • September 16, 9AM-12PM: Toss no Mas Cleanup 
    1. Join in on one of KSFB's flagship events –the Toss No Mas Cleanup. Volunteers come together to clean up public spaces, demonstrating their dedication to maintaining the city's beauty. KSFB provides bags, gloves, and a t-shirt to all volunteers!
  • September 23 7:30AM-4PM: KSFB Charity Golf Tournament 
    1. Swing into action by participating in the KSFB Golf Tournament Fundraiser. Your participation not only supports their initiatives, but also offers you a chance to connect with like-minded individuals who are invested in Santa Fe's well-being. The registration fee includes 18 holes of golf, a cart, range balls, breakfast and lunch, and a gift bag.


Beyond Cleanups: Other Keep Santa Fe Beautiful Initiatives

KSFB's commitment goes beyond just clean-up events. The organization leads a variety of environmental education programs around the city. Through a partnership with the MASTER’s Program and Santa Fe Public Schools, KSFB helps students maintain and improve public lands and bring composting classes to local senior centers. Additionally, KSFB has installed cigarette litter urns in high-traffic areas all around the city. Cigarette butts, toxic to both humans and the environment, are the most littered item across the globe. This effort is critical to keeping the community clean and healthy.

As a part of their community beautification efforts, the organization led the installation of the Santa Fe entry-way sign between N. Guadalupe Street and St. Francis Drive. The sign was a multi-year project funded by the New Mexico Clean and Beautiful Program and was gifted to the City by KSFB and won the Keep America Beautiful Innovative Award in 2020. 


If you’re not able to make it to a clean-up event this month, consider other opportunities to reduce litter and keep our community clean.

  • "Two on Tuesday" Initiative: KSFB encourages residents to pick up at least two pieces of litter every Tuesday. This simple habit, practiced collectively, can make a substantial difference over time.
  • Host a Volunteer Clean-Up: If you're passionate about litter prevention, consider organizing a volunteer clean-up event in collaboration with KSFB. Engage your friends, family, or local organizations to make a bigger impact.
  • Stay in Touch: Keep yourself informed about KSFB's activities by staying connected through their website and social media