Great American Cleanup in Arkansas launches March 1

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Each year, thousands of Arkansans improve the appearance of their communities by volunteering in the national Keep America Beautiful® Great American Cleanup in Arkansas.

This year's spring cleanup campaign is coordinated and promoted by Keep Arkansas Beautiful, a Keep America Beautiful certified state affiliate and will begin March 1 and run through May 31.

All communities across the state are encouraged to become involved in this annual community-cleanup effort. To learn more about organizing a Great American Cleanup event in your community, or to volunteer in a local event, call 888-742-8701 toll-free.

"The Great American Cleanup in Arkansas is an opportunity for volunteers and communities to shine and help keep The Natural State clean and green.

Groups large and small shine when they cleanup their communities by planting trees and flowers, picking litter and hosting recycling drives," said Robert Phelps, Keep Arkansas Beautiful director. "We want to preserve our state's natural beauty for residents and visitors to enjoy for years to come."

Once a community signs on to host a Great American Cleanup in Arkansas event, KAB will work with that community to organize and publicize the effort.

KAB will provide volunteers with trash bags, gloves, safety vests and T-shirts. Volunteers at Great American Cleanup events hosted by certified and pre-certified Keep America Beautiful affiliate organizations will be registered to win one of two Troy-Bilt Gas Backpack Blower and Straight Shaft String Trimmer sets, and all Great American Cleanup volunteers will be registered to win one of five $50 Wal-Mart gift certificates. Promotional materials available to communities will include banners, posters, volunteer stickers and brochures.

During last year's Great American Cleanup in Arkansas, more than 20,000 individuals volunteered more than 83,000 hours in communities across the state. Organized by 316 local coordinators, the volunteers picked up 1.2 million pounds of litter from 2,567 miles of roadway, trails and shorelines, and 140 acres of parks and public areas; cleaned 38 playgrounds; closed 41 illegal dumping sites; and removed 56 junk cars.

In addition to picking up litter, volunteers recycled 512,105 pounds of mixed metal, 40,000 pounds of plastic bottles and 242,882 pounds of newspapers, as were 138 car batteries, 12,654 tires and 340,025 pounds of electronics. Also, 1,260 pounds of clothing were collected for reuse.

Additionally, volunteers planted 608 trees and 45,000 flowers and bulbs, painted or renovated 12 homes and buildings, and removed graffiti from 10 sites.

The total economic value of the 2008 Great American Cleanup to communities around the state was more than $1.5 million.

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