Keep America Beautiful

The Great American Cleanup originally began as a litter cleanup initiative designed to aesthetically improve the environment by creating more inviting parks, streetscapes and public spaces. As the program has matured and grown, grassroots organizations have taken on more diverse challenges—eliminating graffiti, collecting recyclables, planting community gardens, and hosting educational events. But community cleanups remain at the very heart of the campaign, and the results are remarkable. In 2013 alone, 40 million pounds of litter and debris were collected by volunteers throughout the country.

 

Keep Riverside Clean & Beautiful, CA
More than 750 enthusiastic Keep Riverside Clean & Beautiful (KRCB) volunteers collected more than 10,200 pounds of litter, green waste and bulky items at 47 locations in seven Council Wards and six Business Councils throughout the city during its 2013 Great American Cleanup initiative. The Graffiti Eradication Team used 43 gallons of paint to remove more than 200 tags next to the Olivewood Cemetery. The Storm Drain Cleanup Team removed litter and debris from 40 storm drains in a downtown neighborhood. Volunteers planted 30 trees at Loring Park. And a new partnership resulted in the removal of 12 pallets (20,000 pounds) of e-waste from the community. This year’s KRCB citywide GAC program takes place on May 10.

Keep Oakland Beautiful, CA
One of Keep Oakland Beautiful’s 2013 Great American Cleanup initiatives took back a building located in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood that had been plagued by graffiti.  Volunteers painted the large industrial building over a four-weekend period. By the end of the project, the message had been delivered to taggers that defacement would not be tolerated, and the building thereafter remained graffiti free.  A second phase of the project – the “i do it 4 Oakland” mural with KOB teaming up with the Rock Paper Scissors Collective and District 5 Councilperson Noel Gallo – is underway.

 

Keep Austin Beautiful, TX
Keep Austin Beautiful’s Lake Travis Underwater Cleanup is the biggest scuba diving and shoreline cleanup in Texas. The event involves several hundred certified scuba divers and shoreline volunteers to help round up trash from the bottom of Lake Travis and 10 Travis County Parks around the lake. More than 1,000 total volunteers – 434 divers among them – geared up with wetsuits, oxygen tanks, trash bags and gloves to clean the lake above and below water. Volunteers unearthed everything from common keys, glasses and cell phones to the more bizarre, including a crankshaft, stainless steel grill and a pink flamingo cemented in a bucket!

Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, OH
Keep Cincinnati Beautiful facilitated an enormous 2013 Great American Cleanup project in the neighborhood of Walnut Hills with local residents, members of the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation and Spring in Our Steps. Spring in Our Steps is a grassroots organization enhancing community connections in Cincinnati by reclaiming alleys, sidewalks and steps for the pedestrian, including the unique intersection of five alleys known as the 5-Points Alley in Walnut Hills. The Redevelopment Foundation has pledged to clean the area and use it as an event space for the community. Volunteers pulled out honeysuckle and weeds, raked leaves, picked up litter, repaired a fence, and removed graffiti.