Keep America Beautiful

1954 litterbug sign

KAB : A Beautiful History

Long before being "green" was fashionable, Keep America Beautiful formed in 1953 when a group of corporate and civic leaders met in New York City to discuss a revolutionary idea — bringing the public and private sectors together to develop and promote a national cleanliness ethic.

Take a stroll through Keep America Beautiful's many historic milestones below:

1953 - 1970

1953
National Advisory Council organizes.

Susan Spotless 1963 ad1956
First public service announcement (PSA) on litter prevention appears.

1960
Work begins with the Ad Council for ongoing PSA campaigns.

1965
First Lady Lady Bird Johnson joins Keep America Beautiful in promoting highway beautification program.

1967
Canine TV star Lassie appears as mascot for an anti-litter campaign.

1970
Start of “Crying Indian” PSA campaign, iconic symbol of environmental responsibility and one of the most successful PSA campaigns in history.

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1971 - 1980

The

1973
Research reveals the three reasons why people litter and litter's seven primary sources.

1975
Artist Bob Timberlake begins longstanding partnership with Keep America Beautiful.

1976
Introduction of the Clean Community System, precursor to the Keep America Beautiful System.

Waste in Place1978
Georgia Clean & Beautiful becomes first Keep America Beautiful statewide program.

1979
Waste in Place, Keep America Beautiful's first teacher curriculum supplement, launches.

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1981 - 1993

1981
President Reagan endorses the Clean Community System.

1984
First Public Lands Day takes place.

1985
Keep America Beautiful and GLAD launch the GLAD Bag-a-Thon program, precursor to the Great American Cleanup™.

Take Pride in America1986
Take Pride in America program, created to promote wise use of public lands, begins with federal agencies. First Vision for America Award Dinner takes place.

1988
Keep America Beautiful expands its mission to include solid waste education. Solid Waste Committee forms with waste experts from industry and government.

1990
First international affiliate, St. John's, New Brunswick, Canada, joins Keep America Beautiful.  First video conference on solid waste held.>

1991
First training held on solid waste issues for Keep America Beautiful coordinators.  Waste in the Workplace waste reduction guide for businesses published.

1993
Second video conference takes place, on recycling capabilities and limitations. "For Future Generations" PSA launches.

 

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1994 - 2007

iron eyes cody print ad - 1980s1994
The "Role of Recycling in Integrated Waste Management" study gets published.

1995
"Close the Loop, Buy Recycled" U.S. EPA partnership program unveils. "Graffiti Hurts" is created.

1998
"Back By Popular Neglect" PSA campaign launches.

1999
Keep America Beautiful/U.S. Conference of Mayors Urban Litter Partnership National Summit takes place.  Great American Cleanup™ launches.

2002
Research launches for national Cigarette Litter Prevention Program. 

2004
KAB introduces new Web-based educational tools, including Clean Sweep U.S.A.

2005
The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program directly addresses the nation's most widespread litter problem -- improperly disposed cigarette butts.

2009
New KAB Program, The Curbside Value Partnership (CVP), is established to increase participation in curbside recycling programs nationwide.

2010
Keep America Beautiful becomes a sponsor of the nation's largest collegiate recycling competition, RecycleMania, and assumes the administrative duties of RecycleMania as well.

2010
KAB also takes the helm of America Recycles Day, a nationally-recognized initiative dedicated to encouraging people to recycle more at home, at work.

recyclemania coleege students

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Retro KAB:
Historical PSA Ads

1970s TV set

View the original KAB 1971 "Iron Eyes Cody" PSA (Windows Media - 60 sec.)


View the 1998 "Back by Popular Neglect" PSA (Windows Media - 30 sec.)


View a historic print PSA