Nov. 06 /CSRwire/ - STAMFORD, CT - November 6, 2007 - After tabulating data from over 30,000 local events held in 17,000 communities and in all 50 states, Great American Cleanup(TM) Managing Director Gail Cunningham today announced the cumulative effects of 2.8 million volunteers and attendees who logged over 7.7 million hours to improve their local community environments.
Clean-up efforts resulted in 200 million pounds of litter and debris removed from America's landscape, including 3,500 illegal dump sites and over 10,000 abandoned vehicles. Great American Cleanup (GAC) events improved over 178,000 miles of roadway (more than seven times around the world), 121,000 acres of parks and public lands, 7,000 miles of rivers, lakes and shorelines, and 3,900 miles of hiking, biking and nature trails - equal to a winding trail stretching from Key West, Fla. to Seattle.
Recycling results were equally impressive, with participants reclaiming 70.6 million plastic (PET) bottles, 2.2 million tires, 22.4 million pounds of aluminum and steel, 592,000 pounds of wireless phones and related equipment, 115,000 batteries, 23 million pounds of newsprint, 4.5 million pounds of clothing and 5.3 million pounds of electronics waste.
Beautification efforts during the GAC returned both environmental and "quality-of-life" benefits to participating communities, with more than 4.6 million trees, flowers and bulbs planted. More than 2,400 buildings were spruced up with paint and renovations, and over 11,000 graffiti sites were abated.
Other highlights included:
6,500 educational workshops held, attracting 458,000 attendees;
2,100 acres of wetlands cleaned and improved;
3,300 playgrounds and community recreation areas constructed or restored;
Over $145 million in labor donated by volunteers, significantly lowering the financial and organizational burden of waste removal on local and state governments; and
Restoration of West Side Park in Gulfport, Miss., a 10-plus acre community amenity destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
Keep America Beautiful (KAB) thanks its national sponsors for their generosity and hard work in making the Great American Cleanup possible. Notable contributions included:
In its third year as national sponsor, American Honda Motor Company's "Road to a Cleaner America" promotion created the opportunity for Honda dealerships to support KAB affiliates across the country and rewarded top performing affiliates for their clean-up efforts;
For the sixth consecutive year, Firestone Complete Auto Care(TM) and Tires Plus(TM) employee volunteers contributed thousands of employee man-hours and led the nationwide scrap tire and automotive battery recycling effort. Firestone Complete Auto Care(TM) and Tires Plus(TM) also facilitated drop-off collection of scrap tires, do-it-yourselfer motor oil and batteries at store locations. Additionally, in Gulfport's West Side Park, the companies donated and installed more than 2,000 square feet of walkway made from Firestone Flexi-Pave, a recycled tire product;
The Glad Products Company, a national sponsor since 1985, donated an estimated 4 million GLAD ForceFlex(R) Trash Bags, the "Official Trash Bag" of the Great American Cleanup;
Pepsi-Cola Company and its local bottlers and representatives participated for the ninth consecutive year, providing financial support, on-site refreshments at events, and grassroots outreach tools including local event posters;
Sam's Club(R) and Aquafina, which partnered for a second consecutive year with KAB on the "Students for Recycling" program, collecting 70.6 million plastic (PET) bottles and returning 25,000 student backpacks made of recycled PET. Additionally, Sam's Club(R) contributed $50,000 by rewarding the 50 top-performing schools with $1,000 Sam’s Club(R) gift cards;
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company's third year support program included truckload donations of growing media to West Side Park and West Elementary School Katrina Restoration Projects in Gulfport, Miss., and also the "30 Days of Green" educational campaign, in partnership with Scholastic and the National Gardening Association, created outdoor learning and activity calendars that were distributed to 81,000 4th-6th grade classrooms across the U.S.;
Sparkle(R) Paper Towels from Georgia-Pacific provided financial support in its eighth year as a national sponsor, along with donations of consumer products and building materials to KAB's Katrina Restoration Project in Gulfport, Miss., and breakfast and lunch for the volunteers;
The Sprint Foundation celebrated its first year as a national sponsor of the Great American Cleanup. In addition, Sprint and ReCellular partnered with Keep America Beautiful to launch the "Wipe Out Wireless Waste" campaign to collect and recycle wireless phones (www.kab.org/phonerecycling);
Troy-Bilt(R), in its ninth year as national sponsor, provided financial support and donated yard machinery to participating organizations nationwide;
Waste Management, Inc., in its fifth year of participation, provided grant funding for local activities, in-school education programs, and supplied manpower and waste collection infrastructure from 144 local offices; and
For the ninth consecutive year, the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company provided financial support, distributed gum to volunteers for chewing enjoyment while boosting alertness and concentration, and provided a multimedia display on its Jumbotron board during the Great American Cleanup Times Square Kickoff and Keep New York City Beautiful launch celebration.
Educational Partners were Rubber Manufacturers Association and ReCellular, Inc.
For the fifth 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 third consecutive year.
More results, including detailed information about sponsor programs and contributions, can be found online at www.kab.org/GAC2007.
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(TM) is the organization's signature program that mobilizes millions of volunteers to improve their communities through hands-on participation. For more information, visit www.kab.org.