Help Your Home, Your Akron

By Cindy Pantea, Keep Akron Beautiful Staff

summit lake debris cuam2015We gotta talk trash

It was more than 35 years ago that former Akron Mayor Roy Ray and his former Special Assistant, now KAB Emeritus Board Member, Vince Lobello, helped kick off what bloomed into the Keep Akron Beautiful agency, under the direction of first Executive Director Judith Isroff.

Why? Mainly because the garbage and dumping in Akron was out of control. The pictures can still be accessed through The Akron Beacon Journal archives.

Never again! It’s unhealthy for you and our hometown, which is why the Keep Akron Beautiful litter crew continues to pick up debris year round — in order to help keep it from accumulating. It’s so important to us.

Want to know how important? Want to know exactly how we feel?…

Chad Pregracke Passion

Meet Chad Pregracke, who grew up along the Mississippi River and noticed the accumulation of trash in and around the river he loved, played and worked as he grew into early adulthood. So, he called government agencies to notify them of the dumping, trash and neglect affecting the natural water sources around his home.

Nothing was done.

So, he decided if no one else will clean up these waters, he would, but it was a bigger job than he expected. He then went on a mission to enlist more help from volunteers and find bigger vessels, in order to complete his self-promise.

Because of his resolve, willingness to take on the responsibility and cleanup successes, he was named CNN Hero of the Year in 2013. See a look at this amazing person in the piece here via CNN on YouTube:

As you can see from the video clip, Chad Pregracke’s goals and passion turned into his life’s work, and his determination is an inspiration.

Chad’s story is one that relates so well to the Keep Akron Beautiful vision, too!

Clean UP Akron Month

volunteers clean up akron After the snow completely melts, and we are able to get into some of the nooks and crannies around town, we all begin to observe what has been hidden under the snow and the leaves. We begin to notice that some people have been neglecting our great city.

As such, Keep Akron Beautiful needs your help during our month-long spring cleaning event called Clean Up Akron Month, which coincides with Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup.

Not only will you be beautifying an area of your city, you will come from the experience with a renewed awareness. This will make you want to do right in caring for your health through the health of your environment by taking the time to:

  • Find a trash can or recycling bin for your trash or recycling
  • Secure your lids on garbage day
  • Encourage your friends and family to dispose and recycle properly
  • Use the Hazardous Household Waste (HHW) Recycling Center through ReWorks for tires and other items
  • Explore ways of repurposing items before disposing
  • Take advantage of the DUMP by Summit County Public Health for unused medications
  • Do regular cleanups in your neighborhood on daily walks
  • Pick up and throw away a piece of trash that found its way into parks and other public areas
  • Call Akron Police at 330-375-2181 if you see a dumping in progress
  • Call City of Akron Customer Service at 330-375-2311 if you see dumping on private property
  • Call Keep Akron Beautiful at 330-375-2116 if you see dumping on public land

Who knows…you may even find a new passion from the feeling of pride you get from making your city a better, cleaner place to live.

Register for #CUAM17

So, won’t you, your family, and/or your friends register for Clean Up Akron Month today! Registration process:

  • Register your team here: Make sure you receive a confirmation. Then print and distribute the waivers to your team from the registration packet that can be downloaded from our homepage at Waivers need to be filled out before supplies are picked up during supply distribution week.
  • Or, you can call the office at 330.375.2116 and give us your address and we’ll mail the registration packet to you so you can fill out the forms to register (mail in or drop by as soon as you’ve filled the forms out). Waivers need to be filled out before supplies are picked up during supply distribution week.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about Chad, his agency, and even how to purchase his book, “From the Bottom Up: One Man’s Crusade to Clean America’s Rivers,” visit his agency website: Living Lands & Waters. Look for his cleanup crusade along the Ohio River!


Clean Up: Make a Difference in Your Community

By: Nalee Vang, Communications Intern

This spring, do something worth your while – something that your whole community will thank you for. In an effort to make a difference in our community, we’ve taken the national Great America Cleanup and turned it into a month-long event known as Clean Up Akron Month.


For 34 years, Keep Akron Beautiful has been planning and implementing this citywide litter prevention and collection public awareness campaign. Clean Up Akron Month, happening APRIL 2015, helps us serve the needs of the neighbors in our community who utilizes community centers, parks, etc. Be a part of that TODAY.



Instead of ONLY being able to clean up the city during a week in April, you will now be able to choose ANY DAY of the entire month to do your spring cleaning! KAB will still provide all of the supplies and trash pickup and will still host our annual Super Saturday Event at the Akron Zoological Park, which will take place on Saturday, April 25, 2015.


for this amazing event, or call us at 330.375.2116! We look forward to seeing you and your group out there helping to #KeepAkronBeautiful!

NOTE: If you register online, you still must turn in safety waivers to KAB upon picking up supplies.

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.




Don’t miss out on your chance to be part of Clean Up Akron Month

 By Jacqui Flaherty, Program Manager

A large group cleaning event during Clean Up Akron Month 2013

5,282 volunteers participated in last year’s Clean Up Akron Month, and whether you were one of them or not, now is your chance to be part of the second annual Clean Up Akron Month! Keep Akron Beautiful has been picking up litter and illegal dumping each spring for 33 years through Clean Up Akron Week/ Great American Cleanup. For the second year in a row, Keep Akron Beautiful is responding to the needs of the citizens in Akron and expanding our cleanup to a month-long event. Summit County residents can still register online or by calling. There will be free admission zoo passes for those who register early. Don’t miss out on this great community service opportunity where all volunteers receive free clean up supplies and trash disposal.

The first 1,000 registered volunteers will receive free admission to the Akron Zoological Park on Saturday, May 3, for our annual Volunteer Appreciation Picnic. The picnic is a result of the generosity of the following local sponsorship’s: Acme Fresh Markets, Akron Zoological Park, City of Akron, D-A Specialty Co. Inc., Eat’n Park, GOJO Industries, Hitchcock Fleming & Associates, Inc., House of LaRose, Junior League of Akron, Keep Akron Beautiful Board of Directors, Little Debbie Snacks, Sandra Smith, Schwebel’s Bakery, Shearer’s Branded Snacks, Sully’s Party Rental, Pepsi-Cola, The University of Akron, The Volunteer Center of Summit County, Waste Management of Ohio.

In 2013, Keep Akron Beautiful recruited close to 5,000 volunteers to clean 112 public sites and remove 10.1 tons of litter! We are proud that we can express our gratitude with an appreciation picnic for the volunteers at the Akron Zoological Park on the first Saturday in May.

Last year’s Great American Cleanup resulted in over 4 million volunteers in more than 20,000 communities nationwide. These volunteers built more vibrant communities across America, which is why many of America’s leading companies have become national sponsors.

“We serve as a powerful voice and solution provider for communities looking to unlock their potential,” said Jennifer M. Jehn, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. “During the Great American Cleanup, our volunteers’ work returns on average $175 million in measurable benefits annually across the communities we serve.  It’s clear that through our actions and impact, we help create communities that are socially connected, environmentally healthy and economically sound.”

To register for a cleanup site call 330-375-2116 or register online at Registrations will be accepted until May 1, 2014.