Great American Cleanup Kicks off in Phoenix


National organizations and local businesses turned out for the official Great American Cleanup national kickoff event in Phoenix. Photo: Alex Vietti

Keep America Beautiful’s annual community beautification event, Great American Cleanup, officially kicked off today in Phoenix with community leaders, KAB officials, local residents and sponsors – including Glad, Troy-Bilt, Solo, Pepsi, Nestle and Waste Management – all supporting the event.

“This is a wonderful national event where for three months, four million people in 30,000 communities all over the country will pick up a lot of trash, recycle a lot of plastic, aluminum and glass and, most importantly, gain a lot of awareness,” says Matthew McKenna, President and CEO of Keep American Beautiful.

Matthew McKenna, President and CEO of Keep America Beautiful, helped kick off the Great American Cleanup. Photo: Alex Vietti

McKenna says that everyone wants to do the right thing, but many Americans are missing the right tools and awareness. KAB hopes that through GAC and accompanying events, people will get the resources they need to help improve their communities – whether it’s by picking up litter, planting flowers, recycling plastic bottles or painting over graffiti.

The kickoff event continues into Saturday when volunteers will begin collecting litter bright and early at Phoenix’s Papago Park.

Volunteers are vital to the event, which runs from March 1 to May 31. Last year, they collected 76 million pounds of litter, planted 160,000 trees and kept harmful materials like 7.6 million pounds electronics out of landfills across the country.

Phoenix was selected as one of the national kickoff cities because of Keep Phoenix Beautiful’s many successful environmental programs. There are two other big kickoff events scheduled for Philadelphia on April 1 and 2 and in New York City on April 14.

“People are always willing to do the right thing,” McKenna says. “It’s not hard to convince people to volunteer…just show up and KAB will provide all the tools you need. You’ll have a great time, it’s fun and there’s the personal benefit, but also the public good.”

Visit KAB’s website to find events near you.

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