Trash pollution is a major issue in streets, local creeks, rivers and the San Francisco Bay. What are SCVURPPP and member agencies doing to help reduce trash pollution in the Santa Clara Valley? SCVURPPP and member agencies work to address trash concerns in a variety of ways:
(1) At the source
(2) In neighborhoods & streets
(3) Directly in creeks & waterways.

At the Source


Santa Clara Valley municipal agencies are national leaders in reducing the environmental impacts of single-use plastic grocery bags and polystyrene foam foodware. Based on a study completed by SCVURPPP, there is roughly 70% less single-use plastic grocery bags and foam foodware in stormwater since the ordinances were put into place.


Bean bag game that teaches about taking care of trash and recyclables, as well as the difference between the storm drain and the sanitary sewer (Photo by Program staff)

SCVURPPP and member agency staff attend several community events each year. Over the years, thousands of children have played a bean bag game that teaches the difference between the storm drain and the sanitary sewer, and helps kids identify the right way to throw away items such as plastic bags, paint, candy wrappers, and batteries. The Watershed Watch Campaign also continues media advertising with messages that include litter prevention and proper disposal of household hazardous waste.

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In Neighborhoods and Streets

Trash Capture Devices

Municipal agencies have installed over a thousand trash capture systems that treat thousands of acres of urban land area. Additional large systems and inlet-based devices are planned.

Other Control Actions

Actions such as street sweeping, improved trash bin management, prevention of uncovered loads, and business improvement plans have led to reductions in trash that accumulates on streets and sidewalks.

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In Creeks and Waterways

Creek & Shoreline Cleanups

Local agencies and volunteers continue to help clean trash from creeks and shorelines. SCVURPPP and municipal agencies continue to promote public trash-cleaning efforts, including. Over the years, thousands of volunteers have removed tens of thousands of pounds of trash & recyclables from Santa Clara Valley creeks and shorelines.

Direct Discharge Controls

Santa Clara Valley agencies and volunteers also continue to address homelessness and related litter issues in and around local creeks. Thousands of cubic yards of trash and recyclables have been removed from creeks by direct discharge control programs coordinated by the City of San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley Water District.

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