Recycling, Public Lands Cleanups and Community Greening Take Center Stage as Nearly 4 Million Volunteers Declare "Green Starts Here!"
STAMFORD, Conn., Nov. 10 /CSRwire/ - After months of tabulating data from all 50 states, the results are in. Nearly 4 million volunteers, working on behalf of thousands of local organizations across the nation, put in 5.7 million volunteer hours enriching their communities by making them cleaner, greener and safer during Keep America Beautiful's 2010 Great American Cleanup™. With more than 30,000 events taking place in 33,700 communities nationwide, the scale of this national grassroots effort to revitalize neighborhoods and renew civic pride is enormous.
The 2010 campaign, themed "Green Starts Here," encouraged communities to declare that being "green" begins with the actions of individuals. Through our daily choices, "green" can start with the planting of one tree or a community garden. It can start with an environmental educational event, a litter cleanup, recycling drive, graffiti paint-out, or a waterway renovation. Great movements, claimed event organizers, begin with small actions. The 2010 results, from data collected from the three-month program (March 1-May 31), offer evidence:
- 76 million pounds of litter and debris were removed from public lands and rights-of-way, including 70,000 acres of parks and public lands, nearly 7,000 miles of rivers, lakes and shorelines, over 10,000 acres of wetlands, and 3,400 miles of hiking, biking and nature trails.
- 3,100 playgrounds and community recreation areas were improved, restored or constructed.
- 6,500 illegal dump sites were remediated.
Across the board, recycling totals reached new heights in 2010 representing a greater emphasis by participants and communities on recovering valuable resources:
- More than 266 million plastic (PET) bottles were collected for recycling, many through school-based programs, the most plastic bottles ever collected during the Great American Cleanup.
- The 7.2 million pounds of electronics collected for recycling represented a 5 percent increase over 2009. Moreover, volunteers kept 15.3 million pounds of aluminum and steel out of landfills through their collection efforts, a 12 percent increase from 2009.
- 1.1 million tires were collected for recycling, a 22 percent increase from last year.
- 91.5 million pounds of newspaper were collected for recycling, 150 percent more than 2009.
- Additionally, 15 million pounds of glass were recycled in the first year of recording data for this material.
Recognizing that greener communities are better places to live, and can contribute to better economies and greater civic pride, volunteers answered the call to national service, rolled up their sleeves, grabbed tools, and got to work:
- 5,600 gardens, xeriscapes and green spaces were created nationwide, and 129,000 trees were planted.
- 2 million flowers and bulbs were planted to create lasting beauty.
- 10,600 graffiti sites were remediated.
"Through the Great American Cleanup, millions of volunteers build bonds with their neighbors as they unite in a common purpose," said Matthew M. McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. "Keep America Beautiful knows that its affiliates, other participating organizations and our national sponsors have brought a greater sense of ownership and pride to their respective communities, making them safer, cleaner and more beautiful."
Keep America Beautiful thanks its National Sponsors for their generosity and hard work in making the Great American Cleanup possible. Notable contributions included:
- For 26 years, The Glad Products Company has continued its support by donating 3.5 million GLAD® ForceFlex® and other GLAD® trash bags to organizations nationwide. Our volunteers could not clean up their communities without them.
- A new sponsor, Nestlé® Pure Life® Purified Water is the Official Bottled Water National Sponsor of the Great American Cleanup. The top 25 state and local affiliates, who collected the most PET bottles for recycling during the 2010 Great American Cleanup, were each awarded $1,000 each for a Nestlé® Pure Life® PET Recycling Award. Nestlé also provided 6 million bottles of water to keep busy volunteers hydrated.
- Returning as a second-year sponsor, Solo Cup Company donated Bare™ by Solo® cups and plates - made with renewable and recycled materials - to Great American Cleanup affiliates across the country, providing an environmentally preferable alternative to traditional single-use food service products. Hundreds of Solo volunteers also created and implemented community improvement events near nine of its facilities.
- As a 12-year sponsor, Pepsi-Cola Company once again donated soft drinks to help quench the thirst of volunteers at hundreds of events nationwide. The company also played an invaluable role in rallying volunteers, producing event posters promoting the "Green Starts Here" campaign. Program posters for organizations nationwide were graciously shipped by the Pepsi-Cola Company as well.
- For the third consecutive year, The Dow Chemical Company supported the Great American Cleanup by marshaling its employees from 26 company locations around the nation in community cleanups and service projects including "trash bashes," hazardous material collections, river, beach and bayou cleanups, tree and flower planting, invasive plant removal and recycling programs nationwide. Grants to local KAB affiliates and like-minded organizations further supported Dow's commitment to Keep America Beautiful in a number of the community improvement events.
- The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, in its sixth year as a sponsor, launched a national initiative in conjunction with selected participating organizations to create edible community gardens in seven cities. Through the "Give Back To Gro" program, volunteers created community edible gardens and donated a portion of the harvest to local food pantries.
- Troy-Bilt® Lawn and Garden Equipment, for the 12th year, continued its in-kind support by donating equipment upon request to local organizations participating in the Great American Cleanup. The company also supplied sturdy work gloves to the volunteers. The donated equipment will continue to be used in the selected communities long after the cleanups and green-ups have ended.
- Waste Management (WM) has proudly supported the Great American Cleanup for the past eight years. The company enhances its sponsorship by providing essential environmental services such as recycling and waste disposal to help clean up and beautify communities across the nation. Over 100 local KAB affiliates have also benefited from WM volunteer efforts and through the award of Community Improvement Grants.
- As an 11-year sponsor, the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., a subsidiary of Mars, Inc., provides in-kind product donations to volunteers of Great American Cleanup events. In addition, for the first time in 2010, Wrigley orchestrated an on-pack promotion in both general and Hispanic markets that resulted in the donation of funds to support Keep America Beautiful's local activities.
- As a new sponsor to this year's Great American Cleanup, o.b.® tampons challenged college-aged women's organizations around the country to form small but mighty teams to compete for the chance to win funding for their local affiliates. The volunteer teams who made the mightiest impact received a $5,800 to their local KAB affiliate, along with a $5,800 donation to the charity/organization of their choice.
America's leading companies and brands support the campaign. The National Sponsors of the 2010 Great American Cleanup are: The Dow Chemical Company; The Glad Products Company; Nestlé® Pure Life® Purified Water; o.b.® tampons; Pepsi-Cola Company; The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company; Solo Cup Company; Troy-Bilt® Lawn and Garden Equipment; Waste Management; and Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. Keep America Beautiful would also like to thank its Great American Cleanup Promotional Partner, Crescent Art and Framing Products, and Educational Partner, the 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 that mobilizes millions of volunteers to improve their communities through hands-on participation. To join the Great American Cleanup and let green start with you, visit www.kab.org.