Keep Akron Beautiful Says: Please Try to Put Us Out of Work!

by Cindy Pantea

keep america beautiful logoJanuary 23-26, 2017, I had the pleasure of attending the annual Keep America Beautiful conference along with CEO, Jacqui Ricchiuti, and Helen Dauka of the Keep Akron Beautiful staff.

I was prepared for taking away ideas on how to engage more people to take responsibility for the community in which they live, work or visit. Keep America Beautiful did just that, so I want to share the main idea with you:

We want you to put us out of work!

Here’s what we mean:

People Litter with Intent

Part of day two of our conference involved listening to a panel discussion with social/behavioral psychologists who performed the nation’s largest study on littering behavior in 2009 and who are currently updating their findings. They have determined that most people who litter do so with intent. As such, it was clear to me that the responsibility of our agency remains important in reducing garbage in our public spaces.

Litter Pickup/Beautification Important

Why? Because even though individuals choose to litter, they are still more likely to trash an already littered environment, but by removing it promptly, it can help limit the littering and keep trash buildup from spinning out of control. In addition, beautification plays an important role in helping to control litter. Plus, constant reminders of what is expected of individuals, either by education, enforceable laws or public signage, has an effect on how much litter shows up in our public spaces…and it’s what we do.

Litter Requires a Behavioral Change

Unfortunately, the fact remains that the majority of litter is purposeful and reasons for littering can range anywhere from:

  • How you’re feeling that day to
  • Temperature or time of day to
  • Not knowing what to do with the item in hand to
  • Expecting that someone else will handle to
  • Pure laziness with regards to receptacle convenience to
  • No consequences for the crime

…and more!

Not Surprising/Surprising

cigarette butt litterNot surprising of the professionals’ findings is that cigarette butts remains the most littered item (seemingly due to the lack of available cigarette butt receptacles). This was followed by food wrappers or remnants and paper. What may be surprising is that public trash cans do not keep an area completely litter free. Take, for example, those who shoot, miss and leave their trash next to a receptacle. Yet, the placement of cans fewer than 10 feet from an individual did play a significant role in the amount of litter in the public space. This may be important for your next event litter and recycling needs, and we have the loan-a-receptacle program to help. Side note: I recently took a beach vacation where cigarette butt recycling and no cigarette litter signs were prominent and trash/recycling was less than. Result: No cigarette butts, but instead, a whole lot of empty water bottles at the sand volleyball courts!

Bad News/Good News

Bad news is that while you would think our youth are more environmentally conscious, those 30 and younger tend to litter more often. Also, people who believe that litterbugs should be held legally responsible for their actions actually have admitted that they themselves are guilty of littering! Good news is that there has been a reduction in overall litter over a 40-year span.

Your KAB

Keep Akron Beautiful helps to provide public litter control year round. In the winter months, the crews are out removing debris from highways, parks, and roadways. If there is heavy snow on the ground causing litter to become invisible, the crews are still busy helping the city to shovel sidewalks.

Knowing how littered the streets could be is why there are many folks who say to us frequently, “What would happen if you didn’t exist?!” Yet, we urge you to try to put us out of work by putting litter in its place and encouraging your friends, kids and neighbors to do the same.

Thank you for doing your part to end littering and to keep Akron beautiful. It’s up to all of us.

See key findings of 2009 litter study:

Read the 2009 litter study:


Beautification Watch Volunteers Are In Your Neighborhood

by Cindy Pantea

It’s Beautification Watch Awards time!

Keep Akron Beautiful volunteers are out canvassing Akron neighborhoods in search of homes and businesses with yards that stand out in the neighborhood as a litter-free, well-maintained garden paradise with flowers, trees and shrubs.

Keep Akron Beautiful Beautification Watch Awards

Zeber-Martell Clay Studio in the Northside District. Picture courtesy of Chris Hixson.

So far, several people have raved about a couple of businesses in the area that have made it all that more wonderful to shop, dine, live, and/or work in those areas because of their sidewalk gardens.

Zeber-Martell Clay Studio in the northside district is one of those businesses.  With an added touch of whimsical art to make you smile, it is a truly a delightful site.

In fact, Chris, who works at Incite Creative, also at 43 Furnace Street, sent us a photo of it (at right) and said the Zeber-Martell storefront garden is, “one of the most beautiful little gardens in Akron.  I work upstairs in the same building, and I’ve seen how appreciative all the visitors to the neighborhood are.”

Another business is Savoir Faire florist and event planners at Pilgrim Square.

Beautification Watch Savoir Faire at Pilgrim Square

Savoir Faire at Pilgrim Square shopping center on West Market Street, Fairlawn. Picture from Savoir Faire website, about us page.

We’ve heard that Bradley Plaster has taken it upon himself to make the triangle in front of the Pilgrim Square business area as beautiful as the bouquets that the business, Savoir-Faire, creates inside!

Thank you to all the businesses that help Keep Akron Beautiful, and watch the mail for your award in September.

Nominate Someone for a Beautification Watch Award

Yes, you can absolutely nominate a neighbor or business for a Beautification Watch Award. In fact, our volunteers drive through Akron neighborhoods only. They will not leave their car to look in the backyards of homes. So, if you are impressed by a neighbor’s yard (front or back), make sure to nominate them for the Keep Akron Beautiful Beautification Watch Award.

Nominations are accepted through mid August. Just call Cindy at 330.375.2116 option 1 or email us at keepakronbeautiful@akronohio.govJust make sure to tell us the address of the home or business you would like to nominate (include house or building number and street name – zip code not necessary) and I will surely put it on the list. Certificates go out some time in September.

Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter at the left of our home page to keep up with all of what Keep Akron Beautiful is doing for our great city!




Akron-Summit County Waste and Recycling Programs

by Cindy Pantea

This post has been updated with current links and info as of 4/15/2015.

Keep Akron Beautiful works in conjunction with the City of Akron on litter cleanup and illegal dumping, and we also promote recycling programs for the city.

As residents, our options are only good for us if we are: (a) aware of what programs exists, and (b) use the programs in the most efficient way. So, here is some useful and interesting information…

Akron Curbservice Program

Unlike many other cities, we get recycling with our city trash collection service as well as special pickup and bulk pickup — all curbside. To get the most of this waste and recycling service, follow the guidelines for what can be recycled, how to prepare your recycling, how many special pickups are offered and how to schedule one, and how to prepare bulk items for pickup. Click on the following updated link for 2014-2015 guidelines (last updated 2014): 2014_trash_service_brochure. Know that you can always find the most updated curbservice brochure at the City of Akron website here.

One common question about the Akron Curbservice Program is: Can you dispose of sharps (needles, syringes or lancets) in your garbage? The answer is yes. However, you must do it properly. That goes for other home health care waste, too, like soiled bandages, gauze, disposable sheets, tubings and used medical gloves. For safe disposal of your home health care waste in your homestead trash, click on the following link: Safe Disposal Tips for Home Health Care Waste.

Note: You should be aware that even if you dispose of your sharps as suggested on the Safe Disposal Tips, it does not mean that sharps do not end up in landfills nor does it ensure that someone won’t get poked by the contents. This is why Summit County has a…

Sharps Disposal Program

Summit County offers this program to ensure the safe collection and disposal of used sharps. Through this program, sharps containers are properly cleaned and the contents are incinerated. Only the ashes end up in the landfills.

For dropoffs, residents can go to the Summit County Public Health Department at the Stow (Graham Road) or Barberton location. Cost is $5 to receive a 5-qt sharps container and $5 for disposal. To learn more about this program, follow this link:

Summit County has a Disposal of Unused Medications Properly Program - D.U.M.P.Dispose of Unused Medications Properly (D.U.M.P.) Program

Don’t trash or flush medications! Summit County provides a free, safe and easy option for disposal. This includes liquids, pills and capsules. It is a great program that helps keep the environment and neighborhoods safe. Fourteen D.U.M.P. locations exist. Get info and find a location nearest you by following this link:

We hope this post helps spread the word about your waste and recycling options. For more about Akron’s Curbservice Program, visit here. For additional recycling information visit the Recycling Division here.

Litter, Dumping and Keep Akron Beautiful

Remember, our litter crews continue to help keep Akron beautiful. For assistance on:

  • A NEIGHBORHOOD LITTER SWEEP: Call Keep Akron Beautiful at 330-375-2116.   
  • A DUMPING IN PROGRESS: Call Akron Police at 330-375-2181.
  • DUMPING ON PRIVATE PROPERTY: Call 3-1-1 from a city landline phone, which is 330-375-2311 from any phone.
  • REPORTING A DUMPSITE: Call Keep Akron Beautiful at 330-375-2116 OR 3-1-1 (330-375-2311).

Thank you for helping to keep Akron beautiful.






Forest Bathing: Recycle and Save a Tree for Your Daily Forest Walk

by Cindy Pantea

America Recycles Day Poster Winner

America Recycles Day first place poster.

You may think this is another Keep Akron Beautiful post about recycling to save the environment, but it isn’t – well…not exactly. It is actually about you, the environment and your well-being. It is about a project that is studying how trees, flowers and overall nature can really be beneficial to you healthwise, especially when it comes to reducing stress.

The project, by the Forestry Agency in Japan, funded by their government since 2004, is proving that shinrin-yoku or forest bathing is lowering blood pressure, reducing cortisol (the stress hormone), decreasing heart rate, lowering sympathetic nerve activity, and hopefully eliminating, karoshi — death by overwork.

What is shinrin-yoku?

Shinrin-yoku is similar to aromatherapy, yoga and/or meditation and is inspired by Shinto and Buddhist practices. It involves taking in nature through all your five senses and breathing in nature’s essential oils.

Sixty-seven percent of Japan’s landmass is covered by forest, and right now 48 official Forest Therapy trails are designated for the Forestry Agency and their rangers to collect data from visitors, like blood pressure, heart rate, etc., for the shinrin-yoku project. It is their goal to have 100 of these sites within the next 10 years.

Their data of 600 research subjects is proving that compared to urban walks, the visitors/research subjects of their Forest Therapy trails have shown a:

  • 12.4 percent decrease in the stress hormone cortisol
  • 7% decrease in sympathetic nerve activity
  • 1.4% decrease in blood pressure
  • 5.8 percent decrease in heart rate

On subjective tests, study participants also report better moods and lower anxiety.

Of course, now I have to say it: All the more reason to recycle paper and save the trees ;-).

Keep Akron Beautiful is for Quality of Life

downtown Keep Akron Beautiful flowerscape

Downtown Akron Keep Akron Beautiful flowerscape.

At Keep Akron Beautiful, our mission is: Improving Akron’s quality of life through beautification and responsbile environmental management. We hope that our beautiful Flowerscapes do their part to lower your stress and improve your quality of life, but don’t forget to take time to get away from town, too, and do a little forest bathing.

Thank you to America in Bloom whose article on the subject first caught my attention. Click the link below for the originating article: