Litter Hurts and How You Can Help

by Cindy Pantea


Litter Getter science project by Maria McNutt, Litchfield Middle School

Litter degrades society and can harm people and wildlife. This was a discussion statement made by Litchfield middle school student, Maria McNutt, for her environmental science fair project* Litter Getter.

Just doing a quick search on Google for the effects of littering brings up its harm, including clean up costs, public health concerns and water contamination as well as startling images of wildlife, with their body parts caught in various types of litter debris.  

Just like Miss McNutt, Keep Akron Beautiful is determined to find ways to combat litter problems in our great Akron city. One effort that helps is our litter and illegal dumping collection program. It is a fact that litter invites more litter, and this program does help reduce it. Of course this alone doesn’t solve the issue, which is why many of our other endeavors fall under public awareness and education.

This is where you can help…

April is Clean Up Akron Month

clean up akron keep akron beautiful

Clean up volunteers

In an effort to engage the Akron community to take greater responsibility for the environment and teach each other about the effects of litter, Keep Akron Beautiful designates April as Clean Up Akron Month. This is a program that initially began as a week during the month of April, but with so many people wanting to be involved, the program grew into a month-long event.

To be a part of this event, visit to register yourself, your group, your family, etc. To complete this registration:

  1. Click on the “Register Now” button and fill out form, remembering that your registration will be under the group name that you fill in.
  2. Download the “Downloadable Clean Up Akron Month Packet” print the waivers.
  3. Have each member of your group fill out the waiver form (NOTE: There is one form for adults and one form for young adults and children under 18).
  4. Bring waivers to pick up supplies between 3/30/15 and 4/31/15 at the KAB office supplies. (NOTE: Use your GROUP NAME).

Or, if you would prefer:

  1. Download the “Downloadable Clean Up Akron Month Packet” OR call the KAB office at 330.375.2116 to have us mail you a packet.
  2. Fill out the forms in the packet, remembering that your registration will be under the group name that you fill in.
  3. Mail in the necessary forms. (NOTE: You may bring in the signed waivers when you pick up your supplies.)
  4. Come to the office between 3/30/15 and 4/31/15 to pick up supplies. (NOTE: Use your GROUP NAME.)

We look forward to your involvement!

Keep Akron Beautiful and Akron Litter and Illegal Dumpsites

At Keep Akron Beautiful, our litter crews work daily to pick up litter in our parks as well as on our roadsides, including interstates. With interstates, unintentional littering — the result of unsecured loads on vehicles — greatly adds to the unsightly trash problem.

For example, our agency’s year-end documentation shows that in 2014 KAB crew picked up:

  1. 4,831 bags of trash along the expressways.
  2. 1,367 bags of trash in our parks and on our roadsides.
  3. 711 bags of recyclables.
  4. 362 tires (which were picked up and disposed of properly at Lightner Tire, 780 E. Waterloo Rd.).
  5. 47.9 tons of illegal dumping debris.
littered tires keep akron beautiful

Tires found during a clean up at Buchtel High School

These numbers are completely separate from the 2014 Clean Up Akron Month numbers, which engaged 4,240 volunteers who cleaned up 128 public sites including 36 city parks, 6 community centers and 20 schools. The amount of litter collected during this event was 20,680 pounds (or 10.34 tons) of litter, along with 880 pounds of recyclables. They also collected 106 tires, coats, clothes, plastic furniture and pieces of cars, which were illegally dumped.

We continue our mission of improving Akron’s quality of life through beautification and responsible environmental management. We thank our donors and sponsors for supporting this mission. These supporters are listed on our donations page.





*The Litter Getter project was displayed at the 59th annual Akron Public Schools Science, Math and Technology Expo held at North High School on Saturday, January 24, 2015.




Apartment Recycling Made Easy

By: Nalee Vang, Communications Intern


Living in an apartment can be both beneficial and challenging all together. A smaller space means less energy usage, like gas and electricity, which is great for the environment.  However, having your own space or just enough space for yourself could also prove to be a bit of a hassle once it comes to recycling. Curbside recycling has become the norm, but there are still some apartment complexes that don’t offer recycling pick up at all. It is often up to the landlord to make the decision for your rental.

If you live in one of these apartment complexes, you might understand the struggle.  Not only do you have to find space for your recyclables in your apartment, you also have to figure out how and where to get them recycled. A friend of mine collected tons of things to recycle, but never got to dropping them off and ended up just throwing all of it away. What a waste, literally.

Don’t end up this way! Apartment recycling is possible and can be made easy by utilizing some of these helpful tips on organization and finding recycling centers near you.

  1. Because space is so limited in an apartment, using stackable bins to separate
    Courtesy of

    Courtesy of

    your recyclables will take up less space than putting them side-by-side. You can label each bin to its appropriate material and fill them up until recycling day.

  2. Do you have friends or family members with curbside recycling? Ask them if they’ll allow you to add your items to their bins. It’s important to be courteous and respectful with your recyclables if they will allow you to do so. Make sure to rinse out all recyclables and keep your items as neat as possible, so it’ll be less work for them.
  3. Do some research and find a recycling center in your area. If you cannot find one that is near you, try looking for centers that are closer to places you commute to often i.e. work, school, friends & family’s homes, your favorite store. If you’re not sure how to get started, Earth 911 is a great place to start!
    • Here are some places in the Akron area that can help you out with your recyclables:
      • Neoshred – Paper recycling
      • Pinnacle Recycling – Paper & plastic recycling
      • Victim Assistance Program – Used cell phone (in any condition) recycling. This program accepts used cell phones & smart phones as part of their individual safety plans, as phones without an active service provider can still be used to dial 911. Damaged phones or phones that no longer work will still be accepted and are shipped to a recycling company, in which the company will send a check to support the program.
      • Waste Management Recycling Drop-Off Site – For Akron residents only. Accepts most recyclables.
      • City of Cuyahoga Falls Recycling Drop-Off – For Cuyahoga Falls residents only. Accepts most recyclables.
  4. Start a recycling drop-off rotation with your neighbors. It could become a bit of a hassle having to go to the center multiple times. Even if going door-to-door to ask for participants isn’t your thing, you could always leave a note in a place where all residents can see, like the mailboxes. Leave any contact information that you are comfortable sharing with details about starting a recycling drop-off rotation and wait for replies. From there, you can come up with a schedule that best suits everyone involved.


Even though it may be obvious to research nearby recycling centers, you never know if your neighbors are thinking the same thing. So, why not work together and make recycling easier for everyone?

Are you currently living in an apartment complex that doesn’t offer recycling? Have some more tips to add to these? Let us know! We’d love to hear more!

More Winter Gardening Seminars Coming Your Way

By: Nalee Vang,  Communications Intern

Our wonderful Dreamscape Vendor Partners are still at it with their winter gardening seminars. If the winter’s got you down, they can lift you right up with gardening tips to get you ready for spring! Who wouldn’t want to think spring?! Check out the list of upcoming seminars below!


Located at 1015 White Pond Drive, Graf Grower’s will present a series of winter gardening seminars on Saturday mornings beginning at 9:30 a.m. until approx. 11:30 a.m. Seminar costs are $12/person. Enrollment is limited & registration is preferred, walk-ins are welcome. To register, call 330.836.2727 or go online at Upcoming seminars include:

February 21st, Container Beauty: Peppers and Palms Among the Petunias
Speaker: Dr. Mark Miller, Education Manager at Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens In Columbus, Ohio
Ready to spice your container gardens with a plant other than geraniums?! Craving a look that is different and will WOW everyone that stops or drives by? We’ll learn how to add tropical plants to container gardens that’ll add interest and beauty all summer long.

February 28th, Add Excitement & Value to your Outdoor Living Oasis
Speaker: Graf’s Landscape & Design Experts
Need to freshen up your patio or front porch, but are having reservations about the investment? Craving new ideas to revamp your current outdoor space, but aren’t sure where to being? Join our Landscape & Design experts as they give you new ideas and techniques that will add both beauty and value to your outdoor living areas.


FREE garden seminars are held every Saturday this month at 11 AM. All of the seminars are located at their Garden Center (937 E. Waterloo Road in Akron). You must register for the seminars by calling 330.724.0550, ext. 110. The following presentations are planned:

February 21,“Seed Starting Basics” – Speaker: Lee Paulson, Master Gardener. Whether you start out with a few seeds or go big with dozens of trays, Lee has some great tips and techniques from his many years of experience. Stating plants from seed is economical, fun for the family, and a great way to get a jump on the season.

February 28, “Beekeeping in an Urban Environment” Speaker: Geoff Westerfield, Summit County Beekeepers Association. Many people don’t realize they have beekeepers close by, even in the city. Geoff covers beekeeping facts, shows some of the equipment, and discusses some of the challenges of urban beekeeping. You’ll be able to try some local urban honey, too.



Located at 3459 Cleveland-Massillon Road, Dayton Nurseries will present the following seminars which will begin at 11 a.m. and usually last about two hours. The cost is $10, or $6 for garden club members. Dayton will provide coffee, tea and a light lunch at no additional cost. Seating is limited to 70. To signup, call 330.825.3320 or email

February 21, 52 Weeks of Bloom and Color – It Can Be Done!Speaker: Michelle Riley, All About You Landscape Design. Did you know there is something blooming with interest each week of the year?  Even in the winter? Join us for 52 weeks of bloom and interest and discover new ideas to enhance your landscape gardens appeal!  Colorful power point presentation included.

February 28, Mums The Word Speaker: Bill Aulenbach. Barberton’s annual Mum Fest is a wonder to the eye! Secrets about Barberton’s Mum Fest and tips on how to grow and over-winter better garden mums will be discussed by Bill Aulenbach, a member of Barberton Beautification who has worked with chrysanthemums for Yoder Brothers (now Aris Horticulture) for 58 years.

Thank you to our friends at Graf’s, Donzell’s and Dayton Nurseries for being a part of our Dreamscape team! We hope you can make it out to these seminars and get excited for spring. Check back for more updates on March seminars!

Keep America Beautiful Conference Wrap-Up

By: Nalee Vang, Communications Intern

Keep America Beautiful 2015 Annual Conference

In January, Keep Akron Beautiful’s (KAB) CEO, Jacqui Flaherty-Ricchiuti, attended the Keep America Beautiful National Conference in Washington, DC. There was so much to do, see and learn. Coming back from the conference, Jacqui shared lots of new ideas and information that she obtained from the training forums with affiliates from all over the country!

Keep America Beautiful 2015 Annual Conference

Keynote speaker, Peter Kageyama, originally from Akron, Ohio.

The Keynote Speaker at the conference was Peter Kageyama, whom we are proud to say is originally from Akron, Ohio. Author of the book “For the Love of Cities: The love affair between people and their places.”, Peter spoke about the relationship between a person and their city. Our city is one of the most powerful influences for us but often times, we don’t think about it in terms of a relationship.

“If cities begin thinking of themselves as engaged in a relationship with their citizens, and if we as citizens begin to consider our emotional connections with our places, we open up new possibilities in community, social and economic development by including the most powerful of motivators-the human heart-in our toolkit of city-making.”, he said. In “For the Love of Cities”, Peter features many cities and showcases some examples of their efforts. He also talks about unofficial “co-creators” that may be the key to community development in the future and discuss how they can be identified, recruited and engaged by these cities. KAB is so proud to have also been a part of Peter’s presentation, in which he showed photos of Akron and KAB and thanked us for what we do every day. Right back at ‘cha, Peter!


Some more exciting news comes from the fact that KAB was recognized with two awards at the Awards Dinner: 2nd Place Affiliate Award and the Storytelling Award. We are thrilled to have received these awards and to be recognized among the 600+ affiliates of Keep America Beautiful, nationwide.


The two awards that Keep Akron Beautiful won at the Keep America Beautiful National Conference.

Keep America Beautiful 2015 Annual Conference


Lowe’s, a national sponsor of Keep America Beautiful and who has also sponsored Keep Akron Beautiful, also had a “Build And Grow” event at the conference. During this event, Jacqui was able to work alongside other affiliate leaders to build picnic tables for children in an after-school program in Prince George’s County, VA.

Keep America Beautiful 2015 Annual Conference


To sum it up, Jacqui said, “Keep Akron Beautiful is so proud to be a part of a national organization that has been building and sustaining vibrant communities for over 60 years and we look forward to working hard for the next year on many goals and initiatives we learned at the National Conference.”