DECEMBER 2011

KAB’s Great American Cleanup is a success

Operation Green Team tackles the clean up in Huntsville, Alabama.

More than 3.8 million volunteers and participants joined hands to produce more vibrant, beautiful and cleaner communities during Keep America Beautiful’s 2011 Great American Cleanup. The 2011 results have been tallied with volunteers donating more than 5.2 million hours at 30,600 events in 16,500 communities throughout all 50 states.

The Great American Cleanup, which takes place annually from March through May, succeeds because volunteers take action towards meaningful change in their communities. As many local and state government budgets tightened in 2011, those volunteer hours are even more important.

“Americans have always risen to our challenges, and volunteer service is an important way that anyone can contribute to a better workplace, a better school, and a better community,” said Matthew M. McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful.

Volunteers collect recyclable materials in Tampa, Florida.

Keep America Beautiful thanks its National Sponsors for their generosity and hard work in making the Great American Cleanup possible. Notable contributions included:

•For 27 years, The Glad Products Company has continued its financial and product support by donating 3.5 million GLAD ForceFlex and other trash bags to organizations nationwide.

•Nestle Pure Life Purified Water was the Official Bottled Water National Sponsor of the Great American Cleanup for the second year. The 25 state and local affiliates that collected the most PET bottles for recycling were each awarded $1,000 for a Nestle Pure Life PET Recycling Award. Nestle Pure Life also provided 3 million bottles of water to keep busy volunteers hydrated.

•Returning as a third-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. Hundreds of Solo volunteers also created and implemented community improvement events near nine of its facilities.

•In its 13th year of sponsorship, 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 and distributing event posters promoting the campaign.

•For the fourth consecutive year, employees from The Dow Chemical Company volunteered in 51 service projects including "trash bashes," hazardous material collections, river, beach and bayou cleanups, tree and flower planting, recycling programs and invasive plant removal.  Additionally, grants to local KAB affiliates and like-minded organizations further supported Dow's commitment to The Great American Cleanup.

•The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, in its seventh year as a sponsor, launched the GRO1000 initiative, a commitment to install 1,000 gardens and green spaces in the United States and select international sites by 2018. Through this program, gardens and green spaces were established in five KAB communities, with a portion of the harvest donated to local food pantries.

•Troy-Bilt® Lawn and Garden Equipment, for the 13th year, continued its in-kind support by donating equipment upon request to local organizations. 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 nine 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 WM Community Improvement Grants.  

•As a 12-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, the cast of MTV's The Buried Life participated in the Orbit® gum "Live Clean" online consumer promotion resulting in a painted mural donated to the city of Chicago.

•Exclusive consumer electronics and home appliance sponsor LG Electronics USA helped bolster the Great American Cleanup's electronics recycling results through LG's nationwide e-cycling program, including innovative programs during March Madness® and the NCAA® Final Four® in Houston.

•As a GAC Promotional Partner, Valvoline NextGen's "Let's Do M.O.R.E." (motor oil recycling education) campaign educates consumers about the importance of motor oil recycling. Valvoline supported events in 10 GAC participating organization communities and continues to donate to the broader cause with each "Let's Do M.O.R.E." recycling pledge on nextgenmotoroil.com resulting in a $1 contribution to Keep America Beautiful.  

America's leading companies and brands support the campaign. The Great American Cleanup was 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 were: The Dow Chemical Company; The Glad Products Company; Nestle® 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, Inc.; and Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. Promotional Partners: Crescent Art and Framing Products, Miss America Organization and Valvoline, a division of Ashland, Inc. Educational Partners: Owens-Illinois, Inc., Rubber Manufacturers Association and WM Recycle America. Retail Promotional Partner: Colgate-Palmolive Company.

The 2011 Great American Cleanup results demonstrate the role of volunteers in reinforcing civic pride:

  • 177 million pounds of litter and debris were removed from public lands and rights-of-way, including 177,000 acres of parks and public lands (150 percent increase over 2010), more than 12,000 acres of wetlands (16 percent increase) and 3,800 miles of hiking, biking and nature trails (12 percent increase).
  • 2,800 playgrounds and community recreation areas were improved, restored or constructed.
  • 6,400 illegal dump sites were remediated.

The Great American Cleanup encourages and emphasizes the role of recycling in recovering valuable resources, reducing energy consumption, and fostering community sustainability.

  • More than 290 million plastic (PET) bottles were collected for recycling, many through school-based programs. This total represents a 9 percent increase over 2010.
  • The 7.9 million pounds of electronics collected for recycling represented a 10 percent increase over 2010. Moreover, volunteers kept 13.4 million pounds of aluminum and steel out of landfills through their collection efforts.
  • 12.1 million pounds of glass were collected for recycling, as well as more than 800,000 scrap tires.

Recognizing that green spaces and gardens contribute to better economies, healthier citizens and greater civic pride, volunteers grabbed tools and got to work:

  • 5,600 beautification and greening projects were undertaken, with 728 edible community gardens planted or replanted.
  • 1.5 million flowers and bulbs, and 166,000 trees were planted to create lasting beauty.
  • 10,100 graffiti sites were remediated.