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What Can 3 Million Volunteers Do In Three Months? Keep America Beautiful Announces 2009 Great American Cleanup Results

Recycling, Public Lands Cleanups and Community Greening Take Center Stage as 32,000 Communities Declare "Green Starts Here!"

Submitted by: Keep America Beautiful

Categories: Environment, Volunteerism

Posted: Oct 06, 2009 – 09:18 AM EST


STAMFORD, Conn. , Oct. 06 /CSRwire/ - Take over 3 million volunteers and participants, and 1,000 grassroots organizations, provide them with the tools and motivation to make their hometown a better place, mix in 5.2 million volunteer hours, sweat, grit and elbow grease, and watch as communities flourish with a cleaner environment, civic pride, and enhanced natural beauty. National nonprofit Keep America Beautiful's 2009 Great American Cleanup™ accomplished this and more, with more than 30,000 events taking place in 32,000 communities nationwide.

The 2009 campaign, themed "Green Starts Here," encouraged communities to declare that being "green" begins with the actions of individuals. It can start with an educational event, a litter cleanup, recycling drive, graffiti paint-out, planting a community garden or planting just one tree. Great movements, claimed event organizers, begin with small actions. The results offer proof. In the program’s three months (March 1 through May 31):

  • 64 million pounds of litter and debris were removed from public lands and rights-of-way, including 95,000 acres of parks and public lands, nearly 9,000 miles of rivers, lakes and shorelines, over 10,000 acres of wetlands, and 7,800 miles of hiking, biking and nature trails;

  • 3,200 parks and community recreation areas were improved, restored or constructed;

  • 4,750 illegal dumpsites were remediated.

Increasing awareness about the importance of recycling was reflected in the remarkable results generated

  • More than 243 million plastic (PET) bottles were collected for recycling, many through school-based programs, which is nearly 30 percent more than were collected in 2008.

  • The 6.9 million pounds of electronics collected for recycling represented a 30 percent increase over 2008

  • Moreover, volunteers kept 14.5 million pounds of aluminum and steel out of landfills through their collection efforts, a 42 percent increase.

  • 870,000 tires were collected for recycling.

  • 36 million pounds of newspaper were collected for recycling.

Recognizing that greener communities are better places to live, and can contribute to better economies and greater civic pride, volunteers answered the President's call to national service, rolled up their sleeves, grabbed tools, and got to work.

  • 6,400 gardens, xeriscapes and green spaces were created nationwide, and 157,000 trees were planted.

  • 2.3 million flowers and bulbs were planted to create lasting, colorful beauty.

  • 15,600 graffiti sites were remediated.

"Keep America Beautiful is grateful for the remarkable achievements of our Great American Cleanup participating organizations and volunteers," said Matthew M. McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful, Inc. "Every single one of them should feel incredibly proud of the work they've accomplished on behalf of their communities, our KAB affiliate network, and partners."

America's leading companies support the campaign. The national sponsors of the 2009 Great American Cleanup are American Honda Motor Co., Inc.; ARM & HAMMER®; Colgate-Palmolive Company; The Dow Chemical Company; The Glad Products Company; Pepsi-Cola Company; The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company; Solo Cup Company; Troy-Bilt® Lawn and Garden Equipment; University of Phoenix; Waste Management, Inc.; Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.; and 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 KAB's annual signature program, encouraging people to care for communities through volunteer participation. To join the Great American Cleanup and let green start with you, visit

For more information, please contact:

Robert Wallace Vice President/Communications
Phone: 203.659.3016
Fax: 203.659.3001
Phone: 212.279.3115, x114

For more from this organization:

Keep America Beautiful


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