From: ENN
Published October 24, 2005 12:00 AM

Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup™ Efforts Result in $135 Million in Value to Community Improvement Initiatives

STAMFORD, Connecticut — In an era when many are seeking ways to connect with their communities and "make a difference," Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup™ has once again proven itself as a vibrant and diverse platform for improving neighborhoods through clean-ups, green-ups, fix-ups, educational programs, and heightened awareness of the value of clean, green, communities. Celebrating its 20th year, the Great American Cleanup™ is the nation’s largest community improvement program.


A grassroots army of 2.45 million volunteers, supported by creative corporate partnerships, mobilized nationwide between March and May 2005. The official results, announced today by Great American Cleanup™ Managing Director Gail Cunningham, shattered existing records, and far-exceeded the expectations of organizers and sponsors.


Across America, volunteers removed over 208 million pounds of litter and debris, an all-time record, and a 39 percent increase over 2004’s total. Equally impressive is the dollar value of volunteer hours logged during the event. Great American Cleanup™ volunteers worked 7.85 million hours, which translates into a contribution of nearly $135 million in wages and significantly lessens the financial and organizational burden on local and state governments.


This massive effort ” totaling 30,000 events in 15,000 communities ” produced remarkable results in improving communities through "reduce, reuse, recycle" programs, beautification, and hands-on experiential education This year’s Great American Cleanup results highlights include:


--Filling 4 million donated GLAD® ForceFlex™ Trash Bags with over 120 million pounds of litter
--Collecting 2.1 million scrap tires for recycling, through a joint program with Firestone Complete Auto Care stores
--Planting over 4.3 million flowers, bulbs and trees
--Collecting 21 million pounds of aluminum and steel for recycling, more than doubling the 2004 total
--Collecting 57 million pounds of newspaper for recycling, a fourfold increase from the 2004 total
--Nearly doubling the miles of roads, street and highways cleaned to 176,000
--Cleaning 10,250 miles of rivers, lakes and shorelines ” a 58% increase
--The first-ever power-washing of Mount Rushmore, resulting in a drastic improvement of this iconic National Memorial
--More than doubling the number of graffiti abatement/removal sites to 16,000
--Cleaning 3,800 illegal dump sites, a 46 percent improvement from 2004
--Painting, renovating and building 2,815 commercial and residential buildings, more than double the 2004 total
--Cleaning 51,000 acres of parks and public lands ” a 58% increase
--Holding 4,500 educational workshops, that reached an estimated 403,000 participants.


For the third consecutive year, President George W. Bush served as Honorary Chair of the Great American Cleanup™. Mrs. Laura Bush joined him as Honorary Chair.


In the Great American Cleanup™, Keep America Beautiful works with national sponsors and local community-based organizations to address areas of greatest need. Keep America Beautiful credits this corporate/grassroots partnership with the record-breaking success of the event.


For example, national sponsors generously donated essential resources and in-kind products and services to the effort. The Glad Products Company donated a total of 6 million GLAD® ForceFlex™ bags nationwide. Waste Management, Inc. provided a battalion of heavy equipment and manpower to remove illegal dump sites and facilitate community clean-ups and recycling projects from coast to coast. Power equipment manufacturer MTD Products, Inc. donated a fleet of 147 Troy-Bilt® chipper/shredder vacuums to help participants clean and beautify their communities.


The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company worked with Keep America Beautiful’s local Affiliates to landscape, plant bulbs, flowers and trees that created vibrant new community green spaces in Orlando, FL, Atlanta, GA, Columbus, OH, Norfolk, VA and Long Island, NY.


Other creative sponsor initiatives included Firestone Complete Auto Care company-owned stores’ involvement in removing a record number of scrap tires and discarded batteries from vacant lots, roadsides and wooded areas. In addition to hundreds of employees from coast to coast participating in community clean-up efforts, participating Firestone and Tires Plus retailers also accepted used motor oil. American Honda’s "Road to a Cleaner America” program promoted the safety and environmental benefits of keeping our roadways free of litter and debris, and Wrigley’s "greenup™" program targeted teen volunteers in a national competition to submit creative projects in order to win prizes for their communities.


"Through the Great American Cleanup, Keep America Beautiful’s mission to improve communities through waste reduction, litter prevention and beautification is put in to action," said G. Raymond Empson, president of Keep America Beautiful. "We know that our participating organizations are bringing a sense of ownership and pride to their respective communities, making them safer, cleaner and more economically viable."


"The Great American Cleanup enables each participating organization to show off their diverse, local activities in the name of community improvement," said Jim Pavel, chairman of Keep Western New York Beautiful, "It is a major tool of community change. Partnerships and collaborative efforts ”get it done’ coast to coast."


The 2005 Great American Cleanup™ National Sponsors were: American Honda Motor Company, Inc., Cingular Wireless, Firestone Complete Auto Care & TiresPlus, GLAD® ForceFlex™ Trash Bags from The Glad Products Company, SPARKLE® Paper Towels from Georgia-Pacific Corporation, Pepsi-Cola Company, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, Troy-Bilt®, Waste Management, Inc. and the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company; Educational Partner: Rubber Manufacturers Association.


About Keep America Beautiful, Inc.: Keep America Beautiful, Inc., established in 1953, is the nation’s largest volunteer-based community action and education organization. This national nonprofit forms public-private partnerships and programs that engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community environments. The Great American Cleanup™ is one of its many programs that encourage people to care for communities through personal responsibility and volunteer participation. For more information, visit www.kab.org.


Source: CSRwire, Keep America Beautiful, Inc.


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