Keep America Beautiful
Engaging individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community environments.
As a recognized leader in community improvement, Keep America Beautiful is guided by these principles:
Education: This is the key to encouraging positive behaviors toward community improvement.
Individual Responsibility: Improving communities, their environment, and quality of life all begins with personal responsibility -- individuals becoming more engaged as citizens and stewards of the environment.
Public-PrivatePartnerships: Broad-based community alliances are essential to achieve sustainable community improvement.
Volunteer Action: By engaging volunteers we extend the reach of our education and multiply the impact of our actions.
Keep America Beautiful changes behaviors and improves communities through a focus on:
Litter Prevention: Defining litter, identifying the causes, and reducing it by organizing cleanups, and promoting proper handling of discarded waste in our communities.
Research and experience prove that litter — intentional or unintentional pollution resulting from consumer waste products being carelessly handled or improperly disposed — attracts more litter. A clean community, by contrast, discourages littering and raises local living standards and quality of life.
Why do people litter?
People tend to litter because they feel no sense of personal ownership. In addition, even though areas such as parks and beaches are public property, people often believe that someone else a park maintenance or highway worker will take responsibility to pick up litter that has accumulated over time. Because any and all items used in human activity have a potential of being littered, the scale of this issue is significant.
Because Keep America Beautiful believes litter is often a starting point for other community blight, and that everyone shares a personal responsibility to help prevent litter in their community, we encourage solutions that involve public education and volunteer action. Knowing more about the causes of litter and where it comes from is a good place to start in addressing litter prevention. One person, one business, one organization can positively affect the behavior of others in their community.
Waste Minimization and Recycling: Reducing the impact of solid waste in our communities through integrated programs including responsible consumerism, source reduction and reuse, recycling and education about landfills, composting and waste-to- energy.
Americans generate over 245 million tons of garbage per year. What's your impact?
Garbage isn't something we want to think about every day, but managing waste has long-term environmental and economic consequences that can’t be ignored. Since 1960, the amount of waste generated in America has nearly tripled. Our society as a whole - consumers, corporations and governments - must think proactively about reducing our impact.
Keep America Beautiful believes that every consumer makes two important choices that affect the amount of waste in America:
What products we choose to buy or use, and
How we choose to dispose of the product when finished with it.
At the point of purchase or use, consumers have the opportunity to consider a product, its packaging, how it is constructed, whether it can be reused or recycled, and whether it is made from recycled materials. By choosing recycled, recyclable or reusable products, we can extend the functional life of a product and divert it from the landfill.
Purchasing recycled products also helps by creating a market for the recycled material, "completing the loop." Consumer demand is a powerful factor affecting the waste stream, and our decisions make a huge difference.
Once a product has reached the end of its functional life, consumers decide how it will enter the waste stream. Reusing, recycling or composting waste materials is always the ideal option.
Beautification: Improving the visual aspects of our communities through programs that beautify and naturally clean our environment including community gardens, restoring vacant lots, highway and shoreline beautification, urban forests, native and wildflower plantings, and graffiti prevention and abatement.
America’s beauty is everywhere you make it.
Our organization's mission revolves around a core belief that beauty is a silent but powerful force that makes communities safer, healthier and more livable. "Beauty" is in our name, it’s the result of everything we do and it's what our organization is all about - citizens, government and businesses uniting to create better communities and contributing to a more beautiful world. We know that when a community and its residents unite with beautification as a common purpose, transformations occur not only in the physical surroundings, but in the hearts and minds of everyone involved.
America's cities and towns are being transformed by visionary community leaders who recognize the value of beautification to attract residents, draw tourism, sustain economies, and repel the elements of blight and decay.
Incorporating visual beauty into public spaces has proven effective method of raising property values, reducing crime, enhancing the local economy, and improving public health. KAB affiliates incorporate a variety of practices that create and enhance their communities, including:
- Graffiti prevention and removal
- Creating community gardens
- Tree planting and urban forestry initiatives
- Building parks and green spaces
- Litter and illegal dump cleanups
- Enhancing public spaces
The KAB Litter Index & Community Appearance Index
Looking at litter is the place to begin—the first step in the litter prevention education process.
The Keep America Beautiful Litter Index is a tool to be used annually to objectively measure the appearance of litter in the community. In 2010, KAB introduced the Community Appearance Index which improves and expands the Litter Index tool and includes additional options to assist in setting goals and objectives to significantly reduce litter, enhance community image and improve waste handling in our community.
Keep America Beautiful realizes that no two communities are exactly alike, and no single improvement plan will address all the needs of every community. The Litter Index has been designed to be flexible and allow for individual judgment in making choices appropriate for local circumstances.
Keep Defiance County Beautiful KAB conducted the Community Appearance Index for the first time on June, 2010. This tool is to visually assess the overall appearance of communities through indicators such as litter, illegal signs, graffiti, and abandoned/junk vehicles and outside storage. A team of community, business and government representatives conducted the visual analysis using a scoring system ranging from 1 to 4 with a “1” being the best to a “4” being the worse. In 2014, the Litter Index for Defiance County rated a 1.30% reference based on the 1 to 4 rating with the classification of 2, indicating slightly littered.
“The Community Appearance Index is designed to gather data annually and the results are used to develop a local plant o change attitudes and behaviors regarding litter and related community improvement issues. The Index helps direct the local education and litter prevention, beautification issues. The Index helps direct the local education and litter prevention, beautification and waste reduction and recycling programs. KAB uses the information to identify national trends regarding community improvement issues,” states Keep American Beautiful President & CEO Matthew McKenna.
KAB Educational Activities
New this year to the KAB website, is KAB man. This is an excellent tool to use with programs for children and young adults. KAB Man addresses all components of keeping America beautiful. For more details or to view a short video of KAB Man’s superpowers please go to: KAB Man - http://www.kabman.org/ - A new superhero for a cleaner, greener America.
Keep America Beautiful "Best of the Best" Recognition
The Defiance County Environmental KAB Affiliate has received the Keep America Beautiful President’s Circle Award for Standards of Excellence in 2014. The President’s Circle Award recognizes exemplary performance made by certified affiliates of the national non-profit to reduce litter, minimize waste, and beautify and improve their local communities.In qualifying for a President’s Circle Award, The Defiance County Environmental KAB Affiliate has met Keep America Beautiful standards of excellence by conducting an annual Litter Index, calculating the affiliate’s cost/benefit ratio, and engaging volunteers to take greater responsibility for their community environment. In addition, award recipients must conduct activities in Keep America Beautiful three core focus areas of litter prevention, waste reduction, and beautification/community improvement.