March 1 marked the first day of 2010’s Great American Cleanup, an annual event put on by Keep America Beautiful (KAB) and its local affiliates.
Throughout March, April and May, an anticipated 1,200 KAB affiliates and participating organizations will work alongside an estimated 3 million volunteers to clean up litter and debris from public lands and waterways, host recycling drives, remove graffiti, plant trees and community gardens and host other activities to improve community environments.
KAB hopes that 2010’s “Green Starts Here” theme will encourage organizations, residents and volunteers to participate in the community beautification efforts on a local level.
The 2009 Great American Cleanup resulted in the removal of 64 million pounds of litter and debris from parks, trails and waterways; the planting of 157,000 trees; and the creation or improvement of 6,400 gardens and green spaces. More than 3 million volunteers and 32,000 communities participated in 2009’s event, logging more than 5 million volunteer hours.
Much of the 64 million pounds of litter and debris were recycled, including:
– More than 243 million plastic bottles
– 6.9 million pounds of electronic waste
– 14.5 million pounds of aluminum and steel
– 36.4 million pounds of newspaper
Litter and debris cause more than an eyesore to communities – they’re a financial burden as well. According to a 2009 KAB report, littering costs the U.S. $11.5 billion each year, and that’s not including indirect costs, such as decreased property values, effects on commerce and tourism and health risks from the waste.
To get involved in a local cleanup event or organize an event of your own, visit kab.org.