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Keep America Beautiful's Great American Cleanup Brings Sense of Commitment, Pride to Neighborhoods Across America

Submitted by: Keep America Beautiful

Categories: Environment

Posted: Oct 24, 2006 – 09:10 AM EST


2006 Results Show that Volunteers Divert Record Number of Plastic Bottles, Scrap Tires from Waste Stream

Oct. 24 /CSRwire/ - STAMFORD, Conn. - After four months of tabulating data from all 50 states, the results are in. Thanks to the efforts of 2.2 million volunteers across America, more than 37 million plastic bottles and more than 2.5 million scrap tires were diverted from the waste stream during Keep America Beautiful's Great American Cleanup™, the nation's largest community improvement program which takes place annually from March 1 through May 31.

These highlights were among the official results announced today by Great American Cleanup Managing Director Gail Cunningham, and were emblematic of the scale of this national grassroots effort to clean up, green up, fix up and revitalize neighborhoods from coast to coast.

"Through the Great American Cleanup, Keep America Beautiful's mission to improve communities is put into action," said G. Raymond Empson, president of Keep America Beautiful. "We know that our participating organizations are bringing a sense of ownership and pride to their respective communities, making them safer, cleaner and more economically viable."

Across America, volunteers, employing 4 million GLAD ForceFlex® Trash Bags, the "Official Trash Bag" of the Great American Cleanup, removed more than 228 million pounds of litter and debris. The volunteers, registering more than 7.5 million volunteer hours, collected 10 percent more litter and debris than the all-time record of 2005. As impressive, the dollar value of volunteer hours logged during the event translates into a contribution of nearly $129 million in wages, significantly lowering the financial and organizational burden of waste removal on local and state governments.

Other Great American Cleanup 2006 results highlights include:

  • 10,200 illegal dump sites clean, which is more than double the number of sites cleaned in 2005

  • 168,000 miles of streets, roads and highways cleaned and beautified, approximately equal to seven times around the earth

  • 3,900 miles of hiking, biking and nature trails cleaned, equivalent to a trail stretching from Key West, Fla., to Seattle

  • 38.5 million pounds of aluminum and steel recycled, an 80 percent increase over 2005's total

  • 4.8 million pounds of electronics recycled, a 32 percent increase over 2005's total

  • 5.4 million plants, flowers and bulbs planted, a 29 percent increase over 2005's total

  • 65,400 acres of parks/public lands cleaned, a 28 percent increase over 2005's total

    Keep America Beautiful works with national sponsors and local community-based organizations during the Great American Cleanup to conduct 30,000 events in 15,000 communities, producing remarkable results through "reduce, reuse, recycle" programs, beautification initiatives, and hands-on experiential education.

    For the fourth consecutive year, President George W. Bush served as Honorary Chair of the Great American Cleanup, with Mrs. Laura Bush joining him as Honorary Chair for the second consecutive year.

    The Great American Cleanup kicked off on March 2 in Biloxi, Miss., with the Hurricane Katrina Restoration project. The project was conducted in an effort to clean up, fix up and beautify the heart of a community ravaged by the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

    Great American Cleanup national sponsor Troy Bilt® created a tranquil community reading garden on the town green for all ages to enjoy as part of its Landscape America© national program. Volunteers also removed debris, replanted the Purple Heart Memorial garden, and restored the fountain and outdoor sculptures in Glennon Guice Park. Military personnel removed storm debris from a two-mile frontage area of the beach and from the water. In addition, volunteers replanted school gardens and removed litter and debris from the grounds of Nativity BVM School.

    "With the guiding hand of our state and local affiliates in Mississippi, and the assistance of our national sponsors, we were pleased to be able to mobilize Great American Cleanup volunteers this year in Biloxi, where the help was much-needed," added Empson.

    Moreover, Keep America Beautiful teamed up with Pepsi-Cola North America's Aquafina water brand and SAM'S CLUB® to "Return the Warmth" to communities across the nation by providing incentives for local, school-based PET recycling projects. More than 37 million PET bottles were diverted from the waste stream because of the massive effort of high school students across the country. In appreciation, communities will receive 100,000 fleece jackets, made from recycled PET, for distribution to needy children. In addition to providing donated fleece jackets, SAM'S CLUB® provided the 50 schools that collected the most PET bottles with $1,000 grants in the form of SAM'S CLUB® gift cards.

    "We're excited to be a part of the 'Return the Warmth' program because it not only promotes recycling, but 'completes the loop' by turning the recycled materials into an essential product for needy kids," Empson said. "Aquafina and SAM'S CLUB should be commended for this innovative program."

    Great American Cleanup volunteers and Firestone Complete Auto Care™ and TiresPlus™ employee volunteers contributed to the record scrap tire effort of collecting more than 2.5 million scrap tires, a 21 percent improvement from the 2005 program, and 118,000 car batteries, which is an increase of 131 percent from 2005. Firestone Complete Auto Care and TiresPlus employee volunteers were involved in these efforts from coast to coast, also collecting used oil and donating wood chippers.

    "The best part of our 25th annual Clean Up Akron week, which took place during the Great American Cleanup, was the terrific support of the Firestone corporate volunteers," said Keep Akron Beautiful Executive Director Paula Davis. "They went way beyond our expectations and provided a tremendous service to the community."

    Other creative sponsor initiatives included The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company's community green space program in which KAB affiliates in Charlotte, N.C., Chesapeake, Va., Oakland, Calif., and Chicago produced long-lasting vibrant community green spaces with Scott's Miracle-Gro providing essential support through cash grants and donated materials.

    American Honda's "Road to a Cleaner America" returned in 2006 for the second year to help protect and beautify the nation's roadways. This year's program awarded a Civic Hybrid to a lucky recipient. Honda is also awarding grants to the three Great American Cleanup participating organizations that collected the most pounds of litter and debris; cleaned up the most miles of streets, roads and highways; and recruited the largest number of volunteers per capita.

    Waste Management continues to give generous support to local Great American Cleanup efforts on a national scale. The company and its representatives conduct in-school educational sessions, provide local grants, supply tools, volunteers, and, most important, provide many large trash containers, trucks and heavy equipment for moving the collected litter and debris. In addition, Waste Management provided extra support for the "Return the Warmth" program, which included recycling services, measuring results, employee volunteers, collection bins, and the transportation of the collected PET bottles.

    Pepsi-Cola Company's local bottlers and representatives nationwide contributed in-kind product, and have participated in local events throughout the country. In addition, Pepsi-Cola sponsored the creation of Great American Cleanup posters that were distributed to participating organizations, helping to promote local programs and build national awareness.

    America's companies are dedicated to supporting and sponsoring the efforts for the 2006 Great American Cleanup. The National Sponsors included: American Honda Motor Company, Inc., Firestone Complete Auto Care™ and TiresPlus™, GLAD ForceFlex® Trash Bags from The Glad Products Company, Pepsi-Cola Company, SAM'S CLUB®, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, Sparkle® Paper Towels from Georgia-Pacific Corporation, Troy-Bilt®, Waste Management, Inc. and the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company. Educational Partner: Rubber Manufacturers Association.

    About Keep America Beautiful, Inc.

    Keep America Beautiful, Inc., established in 1953, is the nation's largest volunteer-based community action and education organization. This national nonprofit forms public-private partnerships and programs that engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community environments. The Great American Cleanup™ is the organization's signature program that mobilizes millions of volunteers to improve their communities through hands-on participation. For more information, visit

  • For more information, please contact:

    Phone: 203.323.8987, Ext. 811
    Phone: 203.323.8987, Ext. 817

    For more from this organization:

    Keep America Beautiful


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