Keep Van Buren Beautiful, Arkansas

“It all happened because we said, ‘Why are you not recycling?’” explains John Pope, Executive Director of Keep Van Buren Beautiful.

Just five years ago, there was no recycling program to speak of within the Van Buren School District in Van Buren, Arkansas. Then one pointed question from Pope to the District’s Assistant Superintendent started the ball rolling on a program that has now collected over 1,000 tons of recyclables. Pope gave a presentation to the District’s Superintendent and interested faculty, emphasizing that by having recycling in the schools, the students would teach their parents how to recycle at home. He then forged a partnership with GreenSource Recycling, who provided recycling dumpsters which are accessible for community members to drop off their recyclables as well. In the 2014 Recycle-Bowl, King Elementary in Van Buren was the highest ranked Arkansas school in the Community Division. Pope continues to do outreach to schools and businesses in the area to further bolster the now thriving recycling program within the Van Buren School District.

Affiliates Join Together to Keep Arkansas River Beautiful

Keep America Beautiful affiliates in Arkansas and Oklahoma recently joined together to help keep the Arkansas River beautiful. Together they helped remove over 4 tons of litter from in and around the Arkansas River.

On September 6, Keep Arkansas Beautiful kicked off their annual fall Great Arkansas Cleanup with the third annual Great Arkansas River Cleanup. Eight Arkansas communities, including five local Keep America Beautiful affiliates (Keep Little Rock Beautiful, Keep North Little Rock Beautiful, Keep Ozark Beautiful, Pine Bluff/Jefferson Co. Clean & Beautiful, and Keep Van Buren Beautiful) joined together for one large day of action to help reduce litter in and around the Arkansas River. Keep Oklahoma Beautiful also joined their efforts this year by organizing four cleanup events in Oklahoma communities along the Arkansas River.

Final results are still being compiled, but preliminary results show:
Almost 250 volunteers served more than 750 hours to help keep the Arkansas River beautiful.
Produced a value of at least $16,000.
More than 4 tons of litter removed (more than 8,816 pounds removed—including 374 bags of trash, 38 tires, 2 refrigerators, and 1 toilet!)

The 2015 Great Arkansas Cleanup is scheduled for September 12, 2015. Keep Arkansas Beautiful hopes to recruit affiliates or communities in Colorado and Kansas for next year’s efforts, as well as increasing the number of cleanup events in Arkansas and Oklahoma!

For more information about the Great Arkansas Cleanup, please visit Keep Arkansas Beautiful’s website here: http://keeparkansasbeautiful.com/get-involved/great_arkansas_cleanup/

Electronic-Waste Recycling in Van Buren, Ark.

Keep Van Buren Beautiful hosted an Electronic-Waste Recycling Event in conjunction with the Great American Cleanup on April 19. The Van Buren High School football team was a tremendous help at the event–unloading 30,000 pounds of e-waste to be recycled! Way to go, KVBB!

Arkansas Geocachers Collect 1,500 lbs. of Litter

Arkansas Geocachers from Van Buren, Fort Smith, Alma, Sallisaw, Spiro, Hot Springs, Clarksville and Russellville gathered to do a Cache In Trash Out (CITO) event in conjunction with the Great American Cleanup at Lake Louemma in Van Buren on April 26. Volunteers helped removed approximately 1,500 pounds of litter from in and around the lake. Way to go, Arkansas Geocachers!