Fall Great Arkansas Cleanup removes 210,000+ lbs of litter

Posted by on Dec 2, 2016 in News

Volunteers participating in the Great Arkansas Cleanup, a three-month event hosted by Keep Arkansas Beautiful (KAB), removed approximately 210,500 pounds of litter during the statewide cleanup effort. The Great Arkansas Cleanup involved more than 7,300 volunteers at 144 events statewide who contributed a combined 42,958 hours toward litter pickup. These cleanups cleared litter from 541 miles of roadside and 1,194 miles of waterways. “We appreciate the passion and dedication of our volunteers during the Great Arkansas Cleanup and all year round,” said Bob Phelps, executive director of Keep Arkansas Beautiful. “It is because of each and every one of you, that we are able to produce such outstanding results and continue to keep Arkansas clean and green. Volunteers are not paid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.” About the Great Arkansas Cleanup The Great Arkansas Cleanup grew out of an effort that began 46 years ago as the Greers Ferry Lake and Little Red River Cleanup. In 1985, U.S. Sen. Dale Bumpers guided legislation requiring an annual pickup event during the weekend after Labor Day on all federal lands. This law, the Carl Garner Federal Lands Cleanup Act, honors the founder of the event. Mr. Garner continued his advocacy for a clean and litter-free environment as a member of the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Foundation board of directors until his death in 2014. KAB organized the first statewide GAC in...

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, RE-THINK!

Posted by on Nov 14, 2016 in News

America Recycles Day, an initiative of Keep America Beautiful, is celebrated each year on Nov. 15. Here at Keep Arkansas Beautiful, we encourage all Arkansans to reduce, reuse and recycle every day! Recycling in everyday life is something that everyone can do. In fact, the recycling participation rate continues to grow each year, making this simple activity one of the easiest ways to help your local community conserve resources and eliminate expensive land-filling. While the practice of recycling is relatively easy (find the bin, pitch it in!), many are still left with questions: “What can I recycle?” and “Where do I recycle specialty items?” – all of which are valid questions, but with many answers depending on where you live and what items your community will accept for recycling. Here is a simple guide on why you should and how you can expand your daily recycling habits: Beginners Recycling: Paper, Metal, Plastic According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the average American throws away 3.5 pounds of trash each day, much of which could be recycled and reused. Did you know that approximately 1 billion trees’ worth of paper is thrown away (instead of recycled) each year in the U.S.? Land-filling paper creates greenhouse gas emissions but recycling can make a huge difference. In fact, a single run of the Sunday New York Times can save approximately 75,000 trees! As for metals? Americans discard about 2.8 million tons of aluminum each year, of which 100% is recyclable but only about 67% actually is. Recycling steel, aluminum and tin cans can save 95% of the energy used originally to produce them. Image from http://recycling.world-aluminium.org Then there’s plastic: easy to recycle, but hard on our environment to make in the first place. Plastic is lightweight and flexible, and it requires an extraordinary amount of fossil resources to manufacture. Americans recycle more than 33.6 million tons of plastic each year. Recycling plastic is fairly convenient, as long as you know the general rules: there are seven types of plastic and all of them, except one, is easily recyclable. The one that’s not? Number 6, aka Styrofoam. Plastic grocery and produce bags are recyclable, although not typically in your curbside recycling, but many retailers offer drop-off boxes for such bags. The first trick to successful plastics recycling is making sure the item is clean, according to Waste Management. In general, acceptable plastics include milk jugs, water and soda bottles, and shampoo/conditioner/body wash bottles. Remember this simple catchphrase: Bottle, jars and jugs. Image from http://cityrecyclers.net The one thing you need to make recycling easy in your home is intention! Create your own recycling station by labeling three bins for “paper,” “metal” and “plastic.” (Some communities offer single-stream recycling, so separating recyclables is not required.) And, keep your recyclables clean. The smallest amount of food residue in that recyclable to-go container can spoil an entire...

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The Value of Volunteerism: Priceless

Posted by on Sep 8, 2016 in News

It’s a mistake to think that volunteering is just “something nice to do.” Of course, it may make a person feel proud for participating, but volunteerism has a tremendous impact on the well-being and health of a community and actually makes a difference in everyone’s day-to-day life. Image courtesy of the Illinois River Watershed Partnership   Community Beautification A clean and neat community appearance has a direct impact on home values, helps attract business investment, and improves overall civic pride. In a study conducted by Gallup (SOTC 2008-2010), it was determined that aesthetics were among the Top 3 reasons for attachment to a community. Hence, the prettier the community becomes, the more desirable it will be. Participating in the beautification of your local community can not only help its economy but it can contribute to the overall health and happiness of its residents, and is as simple as clearing litter from a shared sidewalk. Image courtesy of the Illinois River Watershed Partnership   Community Strength Research also suggests that cleaner communities are, in fact, safer. Scientists at the Human-Environment Research Laboratory of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (LHHL Study) studied the effects of green spaces on crime rates. The findings show that the more green space in the community, the lower the crime rate. An additional study conducted by the same group determined that residential areas with trees and other greenery help build more sociable and happy neighborhoods (LHHL Study). By engaging in a local community volunteer opportunity, you are also helping neighbors encourage and protect each other, creating better behavior and a safer, more pleasant environment! Another factor in the safeness of a community can be determined by its walkability. Walkable communities place urban environments back on the scale for sustainability of resources (natural and economic) and lead to more social interaction, physical fitness and diminished crime and other social problems.     Volunteerism in Arkansas Arkansas has countless opportunities statewide where volunteers can participate in community beautification efforts. The Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB) inspires and educates individuals to improve their communities by preventing litter, promoting recycling and keeping Arkansas beautiful through volunteerism. The Great Arkansas Cleanup, promoted statewide by KAB, is one of the state’s largest volunteer efforts encouraging litter prevention, community involvement, and clean and green initiatives. Last year alone, more than 15,000 Arkansans banded together to remove 6.9 million pounds of bulky trash and 150,000+ pounds of litter from 1,800+ miles of road and waterways.     The Value of Volunteerism? Priceless. So exactly how can one measure the value volunteerism? Statistically, it can be measured in the sheer number of participants, volunteer hours worked or efforts completed. Although these numbers give a clear indication of work done, what is the difference made in day-to-day life? The vitality and safety of communities, the happiness brought by cleaner, greener spaces, and the pride felt...

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Be The Seed: Words of Inspiration and Appreciation

Posted by on Mar 2, 2015 in News

  See The Need. Take the Lead. Be the Seed. The following remarks about volunteerism were delivered on Jan. 28, 2015, during the President’s Luncheon at the Keep America Beautiful National Conference in Washington, D.C., by Robert Phelps, executive director of the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission. Don’t worry if your job is small …. And if your rewards are few … Just remember that the Mighty Oak …. Was once a little nut … like you. I don’t know if your experience is anything like mine, but some folks I know consider me something of a nut. They say, “Why do you work so hard… such long hours … give up your weekends? You don’t have to work.” Sometimes I just smile. It’s something some would never understand. Other times I reply, “Yeah, I do have to work: because there’s a need and somebody has to do it.” If you’re like me, and so many others that are driven to help make and keep our communities, states and country clean and green, we have to work. It’s in our DNA, our blood; it’s part of who we are. Now, if you object to being called a nut in the poem, just substitute, acorn … it’s what produces the oak tree. Or, as an acorn is also a seed, just think of yourself as a seed. Because that’s what we really are. I know a lot about acorns. I have two huge heritage oak trees, 60-80 feet high, in my front yard. My neighbor, Margaret, has two twin-trunk oaks next to my driveway ­– so that’s six oaks that I deal with – along with her other two, that’s eight oak trees. So we have acorns; seemingly millions of acorns – every year. Acorns are marvelous things, really. They come in all shapes and sizes. And they have a mission. Every year, they drop on my walk. Within a couple of days, a sprout appears and you can imagine the acorn saying, “Finally got out of that tree! Wow! Look out world: There’s an oak tree inside me ready to come out!” The ones that fall on the ground also sprout and in a few days send out a root … which quickly grows and if left alone, are on their way to becoming oak trees. And that’s kind of what we do, isn’t it? We’re seeds that bloom where we are planted. Did you know that Keep America Beautiful grew from a planted seed? Let me explain: At the end of World War II, millions of troops returned home, married their sweethearts and started families – some of you in this room are boomers born in this period. They found jobs, built houses, and as automobiles were becoming available again, took trips – sometimes to work, to vacation, or just to get out and enjoy riding around as a family....

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