Kansas City Cleanup 2023

Tons of Trash
Tons of Tires

Riverfront Park, Kansas City, Missouri
Saturday, April 15th, 2023

We had a successful week on the river in Kansas City! We had great support from the community to clean up the reach of the Missouri River that is no stranger to trash from metro KC. In spite of the weather warnings, we had a great turnout Saturday morning for our large-scale cleanup out of Riverfront Park with 189 volunteers! We also hosted a cleanup out of LaBenite Park the Thursday before with our Title Sponsors, Evergy Green Team, where 33 of their employees joined our crew for a day of stewardship. In all, we removed 8.36 tons of trash from 18.2 miles of river with 231 volunteers!

Boy Scout Troop 211 coming back from cleaning up the banks of the Missouri River. Photo by Steve Schnarr.

Our caravan team made up of a small group of crew and staff headed to Kansas City early Wednesday morning. We hit the ground running right when we arrived to Riverfront Park! We got camp ready, putting up our “flying nun” camp kitchen and some of the crew headed to LaBenite Park to scout the river for our cleanup with Evergy. We enjoyed a hearty, early evening dinner from Daily Kitchen KC, located in the River Market in downtown Kansas City. Just what we needed to fuel up from our long workday and the cleanup planned for the next morning. Thank you to the restaurant owner, Hope!

The crew rose early Thursday morning to head out to LaBenite Park in Sugar Creek, MO to prepare for our cleanup with Evergy! We splashed all 5 MRR boats and set the scene for the Green Team volunteers. These volunteers were hardcore! After cleaning up and digging tires for a couple hours, we all met up on a sandbar to enjoy our lunches. Thank you Evergy for helping us removed 83 bags of trash, 16 tires, a 500-gallon tank, and more! See our trash tally below.

Thank you Evergy Green Team! It was a beautiful day out on the river. Photo by Alyssa Thomas.

Friday was one of our later mornings of the week, with our trash scout around 10am. Crew warmed up around the fire to prepare for the windy trash scout on the river. Scouters set out to search the banks for high-density trash and site hazards for our volunteers that join us on Saturday. We found a surplus of sites. THANK YOU to our amazing crew for your dedication. Throughout the week, staff were watching the weather forecast for Saturday’s cleanup. Things were not looking great, and we had to prepare for the worst. We sent out update after update, and discussed land site options to keep people on land with possible storms predicted.

MRR Crew scouting the Missouri River for areas of high density trash for Saturday's cleanup. Photo by Melanie Cheney.

When Saturday morning rolled in, the river gods were on our side! The forecasts cleared and no storms or rain were predicted until later afternoon. We were able to get 153 volunteers out on the Missouri River to remove 296 tons of trash in a 12-mile stretch, totaling to almost 6 tons of trash!  As volunteers returned to the boat ramp, they stuck around to enjoy lunch, participate in our lively trash contest, and obtain their Missouri River Explorer Badge. Thank you to all the volunteers who joined us on Saturday!

Volunteers enjoying their lunch and cheering for the trash contest. Photo by Alyssa Thomas

The day wasn’t over. Once the volunteers headed out, crew prepared to get back out on the river to haul all the trash back to the boat ramp and into our big, green 40-yard dumpster, donated by GFL Environmental, who also donated our dumpster out of LaBenite. The weather started to get ugly, and crew had to halt all operations and quickly return to the boat ramp before the thunderstorms rolled in. It was quite a site to see full trash-loaded boats roaring back to Riverfront Park! Once the weather calmed, we got our boats off the river and disposed of the trash we collected. Crew enjoyed another delicious meal from Daily Kitchen KC.

We unfortunately were unable to collect all the trash Saturday afternoon, so crew went back out onto the river to collect the trash that remained on Sunday morning and pulled out all the boats to get ready to head back to Columbia. With all hands on deck, the crew worked together to get the camp kitchen dismantled. Most of the crew then said their goodbyes, and the caravan remained.

And our time in KC was still not over! We decided to go back out to one more site that was especially abundant of trash that volunteers weren’t able to get to Saturday. We can’t help it! The final 5 of us, with hardcore crew members Laura Semken and Steve Olson, splashed a boat once more and picked up several more bags of trash and loads of scrap metal. We really do love our Big Muddy!

Check out our trash tally from both cleanups below!

Crew getting the last of the trash collected off the Missouri River. Photo by Barry Underwood.

Riverfront Park Trash Tally

296 Bags Trash!! Plus…

35 tires without rims
1 tires on rim
1 inner tube
5 bicycle wheels
11 bicycle tires
1 refrigerator
1 refrigerator door
1 Styrofoam chunk
3 coolers
1 kitchen sink
5 rebar of various lengths
7 5-gallon plastic buckets
1 5-gallon metal bucket
1 Tony’s Diesel sign
1 speaker
1 metal jack
1 lamp post base
Air compressor
1 large piece of plywood
Metal frame to an ATV
Steering column
Wet blanket
Fire hose
Tool chest
Cardboard boxes
14 bicycles
Innumerable balls
6 plastic chunks
2 large amounts of fishing line
1 mineral tub
6 couch cushions
1 driver’s seat
1 PVC pipe
Chemical jug
Survey tripod
Big umbrella
1 sheet of tin
Gas can
3 rolling suitcases
Plastic bumper
Boat bumper
Fluffy moon chair
Bicycle rim
RV window
3 TV’s
1 tooth brush
8 ft. PVC pipe
1 plastic oil container
1 small Styrofoam
1 firehose
1 laundry basket
5 trashcans
1 rusty metal bucket
3 fishing poles
3 traffic cones
220 gal tote frame
1 garden hoe
2 shopping carts
7 chairs
1 golf bag
2 small umbrellas
2 metal chairs
1 wheelchair
2 tarps
1 digital lamp
1 crockpot
1 barge line
1 55-gallon trash can
3 bottle-holders
1 tent
1 tool chest
10 bike funnels
1 fire ring
1 easy up tent
13 tent poles
1 plexi glass
Teddy bear
Sports disc with owner’s phone number
Stuffed frog
2 baby dolls in pieces
Power ranger plate
Ceramic pearch plate
Golf ball
3 books
Clork radio (iHome)
Pair of goggles
Lego motor
Rainbow basketball
Bank bag
Ford truck emblem
Fake flower
Handheld radio
3 Brass buddha statues
Ozark trail knife
Can of corn
Ceramic statue
Glass Clorox bottle
Toy gun
Deer ribcage
Mini rake
Truck tailgate piece
Golf club
Box spring
Sawed off part of a shotgun

LaBenite Park Trash Tally

83 Bags of Trash!! Plus…
12 tires without rim
4 truck tires
Deer target
Metal barrel
2 styrofoam chunks
3 5-gallon buckets
2 mineral tubs
500-gallon water jug
Truck bed container
Orange traffic barrier

Total Volunteers: 189

  • Volunteers signed in: 153
  • River Relief Crew: 36
  • Boats: 8 (5 MRR | 3 MDC)
  • River Miles Cleaned: 12 (MM357.5– MM 345.5)
  • River Stage: 8.5-ft. @ Jefferson City
  • Landfill: 4.09 tons
  • Scrap Metal: 1.75 tons
  • Tires: 36 - 0.47 tons

Total Trash Tonnage: 6.31

Groups Participating:Kansas City Art Institute, Evergy Green Team, Boy Scouts Troop 211, Boy Scout Troop 178, Rockhurst University, Boston Beer Co, St. James Winery, United Nations Association of Greater Kansas City, KC Water, Missouri Coalition for the Environment, Bally's Casino - Kansas City

Fun Team Names:Trash Pandas, Wilson’s #2, Wilson’s #1, The Cleaners, Angry Monkey Fish, The Cats, KCI Doja Cats, River Rats, Beer Buddies, Pevoget, Middle Age +1, Green Day, Banjo’s Angels, The Rest of Wilson’s #1, Padilicious, Bally’s, Mighty Five, Banjo’s Angels 2

LaBenite Cleanup Results

Photo album on Flickr

Media Coverage:

Total Volunteers: 42

  • Volunteers signed in: 33
  • River Relief Crew: 9
  • Boats: 5
  • River Miles Cleaned: 6.2 (MM 357.2 – MM 351)
  • River Stage: 8.5-ft. @ Kansas City gauge
  • Landfill: 1.74 tons
  • Tires: 16 - .31 tons

Total Trash Tonnage: 2.05 tons

Groups Participating: Evergy Green Team

A Big Muddy Thank You to our Event Sponsors:

Title Event Sponsors

"Pilot" Event Sponsor

"Engineer" Event Sponsor

kcwater_horizontal_logo4cVanTrust Real Estate

"Deckhand" Event Sponsor

Bryan and Linda Johnson
GFL EnvironmentalMissouri Department of Conservation

In-Kind Sponsors

Daily Kitchen KC

Event Partners

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