March 3 marked the national launch of the 2009 Keep America Beautiful (KAB) Great American Cleanup. Focusing on the message that “Green Starts Here,” KAB will be hosting events around the country until the end of the program on May 31.
“We’re reminding our friends and our neighbors that ‘Green Starts Here,’ but the impact we create as individuals goes beyond our own community,” said Matthew McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful.
KAB is expecting over three million volunteers in 30,000 community improvement activities and educational workshops to get involved in this year’s Great American Cleanup. These volunteers will rid streets, waterways and public spaces of litter and illegal dump sites, hold recycling drives and educational events, paint out graffiti and much more.
The Great American Cleanup is not a small project. Last year, 86 million pounds of litter and debris were collected for proper disposal, reuse and recycling. Also, the program:
- Removed 15,200 junk cars, recycled 10.2 million pounds of aluminum and steel and recycled 1.4 million tires
- Recycled 5.3 million pounds of electronics and 137,000 batteries
- Improved over 144,000 miles of roadway
- Recycled 186 million plastic (PET) bottles
- Improved and maintained 91,000 acres of parks and public lands; 7,000 miles of rivers, lakes and shorelines; and 6,000 miles of hiking, biking and nature trails
- Recycled 37.1 million pounds of newsprint
- Recycled 5.2 million pounds of clothing
The Great American Cleanup began with a national launch event in Waveland, Miss., which helped to restore a hurricane-ravaged town along the Gulf Coast and will host additional national events in New York City on Earth Day and Nashville on May 14.