What is Wake County Big Sweep?
Wake County Big Sweep is part of the larger North Carolina Big Sweep — a statewide citizen volunteer effort to make our watersheds litter-free. Cleanups are scheduled twice a year: Spring and Fall, with the statewide cleanup occurring on the 1st Saturday in October.
Wake County coordinates cleanups across the county in partnership with city, county and state parks, civic organizations, youth groups, schools, churches, and businesses.
Big Sweep is different from other litter programs because its volunteers complete data cards that track the amount and different types of trash collected. Wake County’s data is compiled with North Carolina’s and submitted to the Ocean Conservancy where the data is used to identify specific audiences needing litter prevention education. The Ocean Conservancy (www.oceanconservation.org) engages over 90 countries in the International Coastal Cleanup to clean up the world’s beaches and coastlines.
Wake County Big Sweep volunteers also separate trash and recyclables so that the recyclables are diverted from the landfill to be made into other useful products.
How much litter is collected?
Although Wake County’s streams, lakes, rivers and wetlands have been cleaned by Big Sweep volunteers for over 20 years, it’s still surprising to see the Fall and Spring totals.
Click the following to see the seasonal results of our volunteers’ hard work.
Who volunteers for Wake County Big Sweep?
Check the Volunteer List to see that the volunteer spirit is alive and well in Wake County!
How can I Volunteer?
Big Sweep welcomes willing and enthusiastic volunteers! Here are some Sites where you can Volunteer.
Who are Wake County’s star Volunteers?
Every year, a Big Sweep Excellence Award is given to the volunteer or volunteer group that goes the extra mile to make a difference in caring for our county’s watersheds. Read about them and be inspired to be the next star volunteer!
2009 Big Sweep Excellence: Charles Miller - Over 20 years ago, Charles Miller first got involved in Wake County Big Sweep by launching his boat to clean Shearon Harris Lake. Miller then navigated north, taking the helm to serve as Big Sweep Zone Captain for the Highway 50 Boat Ramp on Falls Lake. With fellow boaters from the Raleigh Sail and Power Squadron, Miller sweeps Falls Lake’s coves and open water, hauling out ‘boatloads’ of debris every year from Wake County’s drinking water.
2008 Big Sweep Excellence: Melanie Carter As NCSU Zone Captain for six years, Melanie coordinated a myriad of student groups and classes in cleaning up three major watershed sites on NCSU and Centennial campuses: Lake Raleigh, North Creek and Rocky Branch.
Melanie’s tremendous efforts have worked to protect Wake County’s watersheds from the negative environmental and economic impact of litter.
2007 Big Sweep Excellence: Kathryn Converse Kathryn began volunteering for Big Sweep with her workplace. Although she moved on to another job, Kathryn continued for more than 10 years as Zone Captain for Falls Lake at Old Weaver Trail Road. Kathryn’s decade of dedication has removed tons of unhealthy debris from the drinking water supply and recreational waters that serves 419,000 people.