Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, Tampa, FL

Every year during our annual Community Appearance Index, the rural farming community of Wimauma has scored as a 4 – which is the highest level of visible litter. Over the last few months, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, in partnership with Hillsborough County and other local service organizations, has been working on developing community engagement and assistance programs specifically for this isolated area of the county.

Wimauma has a very serious problem with illegal dumping and is comprised of a low-income, mostly non-English speaking Hispanic population. It has been very challenging for Hillsborough County and Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful to educate the residents on waste and recycle procedures due to the cultural differences and language barrier.

We are beginning to see the start of changing attitudes in the community as we continue developing stronger ties with community leaders and spreading awareness among area residents. Now it is time for action to begin! So, we started with a litter removal/ beautification project around one of the local elementary schools.

Keep Virginia Beautiful, Richmond, VA

Keep Virginia Beautiful (KVB) used a KAB/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant, in addition to support from MeadWestvaco, to produce its fourth year of “30 in 30″ grants. The grant program saw KVB award grants to schools, parks, towns, organizations, universities and other organizations all across Virginia to help build vibrant communities!

Keep Morehouse Beautiful, Bastrop, LA

Located in rural northeast Louisiana, Keep Morehouse Beautiful partnered with the Morehouse Parish School System to provide trash receptacles and to eliminate campus safety hazards at the Morehouse Parish Magnet School. Additionally, by making needed repairs and improvements to the exterior of the building, first impressions of the nationally recognized “A” rated school were greatly enhanced. The partnership with the Morehouse Parish School System enabled the project to accomplish more than had been originally projected.

Keep Charleston Beautiful, Charleston, SC

Keep Charleston Beautiful was awarded a $5,000 KAB/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant to implement the Adopt-A-Stop: Bus Stop Litter Prevention Program in Charleston, S.C. Adopt-A-Stop (AAS) is a volunteer based litter prevention program geared at stopping litter at Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) bus stops located in the City of Charleston. In short, volunteers adopt a trash can at a local bus stop and service the can weekly, collecting the trash and cleaning any litter near the stop.

Thanks to the KAB/Lowe’s 2014 grant funds Keep Charleston Beautiful now has 12 stops adopted throughout the City and more under review for adoption. Grant funding provided the trash cans, lids, trash bags, pickup sticks, safety materials, and promotional items needed for this project to become a reality.

Why Adopt-A-Stop?
AAS was created to solve an issue. Litter along local roads with a focus on bus stops. Transition spots and areas where people stop are often hot spots for litter, more so when there are no receptacles for unwanted waste. Unfortunately, simply providing a trash can at such locations is the easy part of the solution. The harder part is servicing the trash cans. A trash can that is not serviced does nothing to solve the litter issue and quickly becomes a problem in and of itself. The AAS program in Charleston aimed to provide serviced trash cans at local bus stops. The catch was we had no budget or staff to service the cans. After testing our volunteers at four stops around the city, the Adopt-A-Stop program formally launched in the summer of 2014. We are continuing to expand and improve the program, but already this year our adopters have conducted 144 bus stop visits, collected 61 bags of trash from stops.

Who Adopts?
Adoption groups range from local real-estate businesses, restaurants, small businesses, individuals, families, nonprofits, schools, and local scouts groups. When thanking a the Charleston’s Boy Scout Pack 79, Den 6 for their adoption of the stop near their meeting place, the young men had a few winsome words to share. When asked how they could help prevent litter an 8-year-old responded, “Put trash in the trash can if there is one near you or just hold onto it until you see a trash can.” When asked what they thought litter was, Romney, a 7-year-old scout answered, “Plastic and tin and other stuff that people just get rid of without thinking.” These young men along with all our other volunteers are stepping up and acting as true stewards in the community.

We also involve local students to help decorate our AAS drum trash cans. The painted cans help draw attention to the cans and provide a fun way for local students to share their ideas on what makes Charleston beautiful. The students are asked to paint the cans with the theme “A Beautiful Charleston.”

KCB is thankful to CARTA, Lowe’s, Keep America Beautiful, and our wonderful Adopters for making AAS possible.

NC Marine Debris Symposium, Sneads Ferry, NC

Bronwen Evans, Keep America Beautiful’s director of litter programs, presented at the Second Annual NC Marine Debris Symposium in Sneads Ferry, N.C., last week.

Lisa Rider of Keep Onslow Beautiful and her team did an incredible job organizing the event which included marine debris issues, waste reduction, recycling, litter prevention, clean marinas, and green tourism. Evans’ Cigarette Litter Prevention Program session was very well-received and generated a lot of interest: how to keep cigarette butts off the beach is a hot topic!

Keep America Beautiful staff participated in a couple of cleanups at beautiful Topsail Beach (above), networked with a great group of people, and worked to make the whole event “zero waste.”

Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia’s waterfront (Penn’s Landing) is experiencing a renaissance – from development plans never closer to being realized, to the amazing pop-up Spruce Street Harbor Park (http://bit.ly/1jmWDuz) and the new Fringe Arts headquarters and performance space (www.fringearts.com). That is why Keep Philadelphia Beautiful was so proud to team up with the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (www.delawareriverwaterfront.com) to implement Keep America Beautiful’s Cigarette Litter Prevention Program right in the heart of Penn’s Landing.

Together, Keep Philadelphia Beautiful and the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation ahve installed thirty new cigarette trash receptacles along the Waterfront, and will be embarking on outreach and education focused on the environmental damage caused by cigarette litter. We’re already seeing the impact, too!

Check out pictures of our new receptacles here (http://on.fb.me/1tyZAgT) and read all about the KAB Cigarette Litter Prevention program here (www.preventcigarettelitter.org). And the next time you’re in Philly, go visit the waterfront! We promise you’ll fall in love with it, and be as passionate as we are about keeping it beautiful!

Keep America Beautiful Works To Keep Bonnaroo Litter Free

Bronwen Evans, Keep America Beautiful’s director of litter programs, attended the recent Bonnaroo to develop KAB’s metrics protocol on cigarette litter at special events, and to support the local affiliate, Keep Coffee County Beautiful (KCCB) of Manchester, Tenn.

“Keep Coffee County Beautiful did an amazing job with their $5,000 CLPP grant,” Evans said. “Not only did they strategically place dozens of Smoker’s Outpost receptacles to support proper disposal of cigarette butts and cigar tips, they did some terrific educational outreach with signage, bumper stickers, and t-shirts. Over 2,400 pocket ashtrays were distributed to environmentally-conscious adult smokers in this music-loving crowd.”

Tonya Wilkinson, executive coordinator of KCCB, hosted Evans and KAB researcher Adam Roberts after weather conditions made camping problematic. Wilkinson also arranged for Evans to meet with Coffee County, Tenn., Mayor David Pennington and Tullahoma, Tenn., Mayor Lane Curlee, and to visit the local recycling center.

“Tonya is running an exemplary program, and is a real credit to Keep Tennessee Beautiful and to the Keep America Beautiful affiliate network,” Evans said.

Keep Manatee Beautiful, Bradenton, FL

Keep Manatee Beautiful has partnered with the City of Bradenton and Manatee County Government to expand its Cigarette Litter Prevention Program. The program is designed to educate citizens about the environmental impacts of improper disposal of cigarette litter and to provide cigarette receptacles for proper disposal.

In May 2014, Keep Manatee Beautiful received Keep America Beautiful grants of $7,000 to initiate a Cigarette Litter Prevention Program to install 90 cigarette bins with at Bradenton’s Riverwalk and Main Street, Manatee Public Beach, Bayfront Park and Palma Sola Causeway.

The cigarette bin and portable ashtrays will be available to attendees at the numerous, annual events held at the City of Bradenton’s Riverwalk at Rossi Park and historic Old Main Street. At these events, we will get them directly into the hands of adult smokers through a one-on-one distribution to give them a way to properly dispose of cigarette butts and to inform them of the newly installed cigarette bins.

At Manatee County parks on Anna Maria Island and Palma Sola Causeway, older cigarette bins made of stainless steel will be replaced with a more durable style. The ash receptacle we have chosen is the Glaro 2401 Wall Mounted Indoor Outdoor Ashtray. Completely weatherproof, windproof and fireproof, this cigarette receptacle is made of solid 1/16 thick seamless aluminum and has a large capacity and is easy to empty because of a smartly-designed security locking system. Satin brass models cannot tarnish and, therefore, never need polishing. Permanent-mount and wall-mounted models are complete with all mounting hardware. They conceal odors and prevent the wind from blowing debris.

Before and after the installation, volunteers will conduct a cigarette butt scan of the areas surrounding specific installations to get a before/after count of the cigarette butt litter.