Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful, Reno, NV

Record number of invasive weeds, abandoned cars removed; more than 600 residents turn out to clean up Truckee Meadows

More than 600 Washoe County residents came out Saturday to clean up illegal dump sites and invasive weeds at 18 sites during Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful’s Great Community Cleanup. Volunteers removed 74 tons of trash, 33 tons of invasive weeds and almost 600 tires for a cleanup total of 123 tons. Volunteers also removed graffiti, painted and wrapped trees.

“We had perfect weather this year,” said Jaime Souza, program manager of Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful (KTMB). “Our volunteers pulled and dug a record number of invasive weeds – great news in this dry year.”

Those weeds will be composted for the first time this year, and next week – during International Compost Awareness Week, KTMB staff will be collecting compost and delivering it to schools and other area garden projects. This addition to KTMB’s Great Community Cleanup is made possible by a Keep America Beautiful/Waste Management Think Green grant and a partnership with RT Donovan.

Another record was set this year: The Nevada National Guard removed 18 abandoned cars from the Hunter and Alum creek areas.

“The number of cars just kept increasing,” Souza said. “We started with 15, were up to 17 this morning, and then the helicopter crews found another while they were doing their training. The ground crews did a little scrambling and managed to get the extra one as well. They were so well prepared, and really wanted to do a thorough job. We were so glad to help with the project, and couldn’t be happier with the outcome.”

Here are the stats for KTMB’s Great Community Cleanup. Trash: 74.47 tons; Weeds: 33.4 tons; Cars: 18; Tires: 595

KTMB volunteers are individuals, families and groups from all over the community, including the event sponsor, Intuit, and all the event partners like the Truckee River Fund, Barrick Gold Corporation, NV Energy Foundation, OrangeTree Productions, REI, Truckee Meadows Water Authority, Waste Management, cities of Reno and Sparks, Sun Valley General Improvement District, Washoe County, Washoe County Health District, and the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.

KTMB’s Great Community Cleanup began in 2006 as a part of a community-based effort to preserve the natural beauty of local recreation areas and remove the dangers to people and wildlife associated with illegal dump sites and invasive weeds. For a map of 2015 cleanup sites, before and after photos, video and more, visit ktmb.org/events/ktmbs-great-community-cleanup/.

All KTMB programs are geared toward educating the public about the economic and health hazards of litter and illegal dumping; reducing our waste; eliminating trash from our parks, roadways and open spaces; making our community a beautiful and safe place to live; and giving opportunities for residents and businesses to take pride and ownership in their home. Residents can get involved by visiting ktmb.org.

Keep Charleston Beautiful, Charleston, SC

Waste Management Think Green Grant – “Where Does Waste Go?” Field Trips!

Keep Charleston Beautiful (KCB) , Charleston County Environmental Management, and Charleston County School District teamed up for the 2014/2015 Keep America Beautiful/Waste Management Think Green Grant to provide free field trips for local schools to the area’s recycling center and landfill/compost facility. School transportation was paid for using grant funds and Charleston County provided free tours upon arrival. Charleston County School District promoted the grant through emails and website posts.

KCB was thrilled to received applications for the free trips from 23 different schools, 12 of which are Title I schools. Nineteen schools went on the trips using grant-provided funds. Thirteen teachers responded to the follow-up survey: nine indicated they would not have been able to send their students on these field trips without the Think Green Grant; two teachers said they possibly could have but likely not; two said they would have gone without grant funds.

The Think Green Grant also provided KCB with the opportunity to print customized posters featuring real students inspiring other students. The posters are provided for free to all schools in Charleston.

The KAB/Waste Management Think Green Grant provided over 1,200 local students with the opportunity to learn where their waste goes. THANK YOU!

Recycle One, Pike County, MS

Recycle One will continue for a third year thanks to the 2015 Waste Management Think Green Grant of $10,000. Recycle One is a single stream program for aluminum, paper and plastic products. We hope to sustain a healthier environment by reducing pollution, re-purposing materials, and reducing the use of natural resources.

Keep Mississippi Beautiful, Madison, MS

Cities today often operate on shoestring budgets, making the community improvement work of volunteer-based organizations like ours highly valuable. We plant trees, clean up litter, encourage recycling and enhance our surroundings – all efforts to improve the quality of life for Mississippians.

This year, as part of our Great American Cleanup State Kickoff, we worked with Keep Ridgeland Beautiful to transform a small park into a community resource.

Nestled in the historic McLaurin Heights neighborhood, Keep Ridgeland Beautiful board members discovered the park a few years ago and saw it as an opportunity for improvement by adding a picnic area, seating and improved recreation features. This cleanup helped Ridgeland take this park to the next level.

“We’re so thankful to all of the volunteers and partners who came together to make this project possible,” said Jan Richardson, chair of Keep Ridgeland Beautiful. “These upgrades to Midway Park are a blessing to the nearby neighborhood.”

One neighbor at the event told us, “I plan to keep an eye on this park and make sure its users keep it up.” It’s great to see how engaged the neighbors are.

During the cleanup, about 85 volunteers helped install grills, picnic tables, benches, trash, recycling receptacles and even a pergola. Students took the lead on building the pergola as part of a Technology Student Association construction challenge.

The basketball court was resurfaced leading up the cleanup, and volunteers striped new lines, cleaned backboards, put up new nets and added another goal. Volunteers also added wood chips to the park’s playground, where city employees installed to spring riders for young children.

We can’t forget our many volunteers with green thumbs. We spruced up the park with six new trees, dozens of shrubs and flowers, and fresh pine straw to enhance the aesthetics and soil of garden beds. They also picked up litter near the park, including a neighboring wooded area.

And finally, the park got an official sign, which will help ensure Ridgeland citizens know about this local place.

We’re thankful for the volunteers who gave their time and to our many sponsors who helped us make this work possible. Sponsors included: Keep Mississippi Beautiful, Keep America Beautiful, Keep Ridgeland Beautiful, City of Ridgeland, Bulldog Construction Company, Bufkin Mechanical Inc., Waste Management, Ad Camp Inc., Southwest Distributors, Troy-Bilt, Brown Bottling Group, MMC, Colonial Heights Baptist Church, Audubon Homeowners Association, First Ridgeland Baptist Church, Mississippi Railroad Association and Ridgeland City Garden Club.

It’s amazing how we can improve and enhance places, like Midway Park, when working together. Projects like this one are happening across Mississippi as part of the Great American Cleanup, a nationwide clean sweep. More than 200 Great American Cleanups will happen in Mississippi from March to May. Let’s keep up the good work in keeping Mississippi beautiful!

Keep The Rez Beautiful, Ridgeland, MS

Winners Circle Park in Flowood, Miss., recently named the No. 1 park statewide, just received a welcomed addition from Keep The Rez Beautiful (KRB) and Waste Management.

To emphasize the importance of recycling with no curbside in the entire county or any city, KRB decided to stress the importance with a Big Belly Solar Recycling Compactor. The graphics used on the compactor are eye-catching and sends a message to the thousands of visitors that frequent the park monthly. KRB hopes to receive future funding from sponsors and partners to replicate the project in other areas of the county.

Thanks Waste Management and KAB for your assistance in promoting and supporting our recycling efforts!

Keep Pike County Beautiful-McComb, Miss.

Keep Pike County Beautiful celebrates 8 successful months of recycling with over 52 tons of recycled goods thanks to the $10,000 Think Green Waste Management Grant & Support from the City of McComb and the Pike County Supervisors. It’s been great to see our community emerge from a failed program over 20 years ago to Success Success Success! We had a regular daily flow at our Single Stream Compactor. Any given day, there would be a line of cars of residents waiting to bring their recycled goods. The enthusiasm remained high from the beginning of fall 2013.

In partnership with the City of McComb and our other municipalities, the Pike County Board of Supervisors worked together and established a single-stream recycling program. This was accomplished by providing a roll-off dumpster at a central collection site and offering all businesses/residents the opportunity to recycle common trash fillers 24/7. The grant created the county’s only recycling site for standard recycling, in hopes of reducing solid waste collection by 8 tons per month initially, and 12 tons per month by the end of the six-month trial period. The grant paid for signage, a security camera, advertising, educational materials, and recycling collection costs.

This program has truly been supported by all of our municipalities including McComb, Summit, Magnolia and Summit throughout the entire pilot program. At any given time, there was a line of cars waiting at our fire station to drop of their materials to be recycled Firemen worked together to compact the items placed into it up to 4-6 times daily. We worked in partnership with our local Walmart who recycled the plastic bags we used to transport the recycled materials.

In addition to the $10,000 for the Think Green grant, we had additional financial support from the City of McComb and the Pike County Board of Supervisors to ensure this pilot program was a true success.

As of July 1, 2014, this program is ongoing. Our affiliate and the City of McComb was recently awarded a grant from the MS DEQ to continue and grow our efforts throughout the rest of the county with a goal of going curbside. There are now dumpsters at central locations in each of our other towns, and so far, community support for the program continues to grow.

Thank you, Keep America Beautiful, for your support of the program and for arranging a partnership with a company like Waste Management. We hope to have an even bigger story this time next year when we hope to go curbside.

Keep Clinton, MS Beautiful – Clinton, MS

In 2013, Keep Clinton, MS Beautiful received a grant from Keep Mississippi Beautiful and Waste Management Inc. The grant enabled us to construct a Community Garden located at the Clinton Community Christian Corporation. This garden will provide fresh vegetables for low to moderate income residents. It will also aid in the education of the value of fresh vegetables and good health. In a state with a significantly high obesity rate, this garden underscores the importance of healthy lifestyle and food choices. The garden will create an environment by which obesity and hunger are combatted through community partnerships and healthy lifestyles. Classes and cooking demonstrations will continue in coordination with the ongoing maintenance of the garden. The garden is a significant investment in the future of our communities’ ability to meet the needs of our residents while also providing a transformative experience for the children and families benefitting from the garden.

Keep Little Rock Beautiful – Little Rock, AR

Keep Little Rock Beautiful joined forces with Audubon Arkansas and concerned citizens to help form the organization, “Friends of Fourche Creek.”

Gaining support from local sponsors, such as Starbucks and Waste Management, the partnering organizations were able to remove a significant amount of litter (3,000 pounds) and also recycle a significant amount of recyclables that were littered (an additional 3,000 pounds). Special thanks to everyone who volunteered to help keep Fourche Creek beautiful!