With state and local budgets stretched to their limits, a growing volunteer movement is helping to fill the gap by engaging individuals in community service. National nonprofit Keep America Beautiful (KAB) is encouraging people of all ages to rekindle their pride in their communities by volunteering for KAB's 2011 Great American Cleanup.
Throughout the months of March, April and May, an anticipated 3.5 million volunteers organized by 1,200 KAB affiliates and participating organizations nationwide will rally to beautify and green their neighborhoods by planting trees, flowers and community gardens, removing graffiti, reclaiming community amenities like parks and playgrounds, cleaning up litter and debris from public lands, and hosting recycling drives. The Great American Cleanup is a significant opportunity for local organizations to coordinate community-building educational and awareness programs that engage people in activities that can improve the quality of life in places close to our heart and home -- our neighborhoods and our communities.
The 2011 theme, 'Green Starts Here,' is a rallying call that encourages civic leaders and volunteer groups to begin creating more sustainable communities through their efforts as volunteers, and through their daily choices and actions. It also reflects Keep America Beautiful's long legacy of waste reduction, recycling, beautification and community greening activities.
'Volunteers are essential to strengthening our communities, boosting our local economies, and protecting our shared environment,' said Matthew McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. 'The Great American Cleanup provides a wonderful opportunity to inspire civic engagement that addresses the very real challenges of our times.'
In 2010, millions of volunteers in 33,700 communities took part in the Great American Cleanup, collecting 76 million pounds of litter and debris. An emphasis on recycling resulted in the collection of:
- more than 266 million plastic bottles;
- 7.6 million pounds of electronics;
- 15.3 million pounds of aluminum and steel;
- 14.9 million pounds of glass; and
- 1.1 million scrap tires
Additionally, an estimated 160,000 trees and 8,200 gardens, xeriscapes and green spaces were created. A full list of 2010 results can be found online at kab.org/GAC_2010Results.
How can you get involved? Visit kab.org for a list of participating organizations. If there's not an event near you, you can organize your own following guidelines and tips provided on the Web site.
America's leading companies and brands support the campaign. The Great American Cleanup is proud to welcome new National Sponsors LG Electronics U.S.A., Inc. and Lowe's Companies, Inc. through the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation. Returning National Sponsors are: The Dow Chemical Company; The Glad Products Company; Nestlé® Pure Life® Purified Water; PepsiCo's Pepsi-Cola and Gatorade companies; The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company; Solo Cup Company; Troy-Bilt® Lawn and Garden Equipment; Waste Management; and Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. Promotional Partners are: Crescent Art and Framing Products and Miss America Organization and Owens-Illinois, Inc. Educational Partners are: Owens-Illinois, Inc. and 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. Its signature program, the Great American Cleanup is one of many initiatives that encourage people to care for communities through volunteer participation. To join the Great American Cleanup and let green start with you, visit kab.org.