Leon County recognizes Keep America Beautiful Month

Keep Tallahassee Beautiful volunteers during the Super Clean Sweep 2018
Photo credit: Diana Hanson 

Keep America Beautiful Month is recognized nationally each year in April, and it celebrates improving, beautifying communities and the environment.

The Keep America Beautiful Foundation is a United States based non-profit organization that inspires and educates people to improve and beautify their community. The foundation has a variety of national programs and initiatives with more than 600 community-based affiliates and partner organizations.

The local community-affiliate, Keep Tallahassee Beautiful (KTB), is volunteer-based organization that serves Tallahassee and the surrounding area.

According to KTB’s executive director, Diana Hanson, the organization held a city-wide clean up and beautification project, Super Clean Sweep, last month as part of Keep America Beautiful’s Great American clean up. KTB cleaned over 1,800 pounds of litter and planted flowers in neighborhood entrances and a park on the Southside of the city.

Alongside managing Tallahassee’s Adopt-A-Street program and holding fundraisers to keep the organization operating, KTB is dedicated to educating others on properly recycling, managing solid waste and the environment.

“We focus on educating others about the responsibility of properly handling of waste, beautification and the reduction of litter. It brings communities and neighborhoods together and involves all ages,” Hanson said.

Montekis Jones, a senior economics student at Florida State University, said that beautification projects serve a use in the aesthetics and eye appeal of the community, but not as much as to solve the root problems of the community.

“Projects like these are rewarding due to the immediate response in efforts, but it is important to maintain the communities in which we work in which often is left undone,” Jones added.

In efforts to manage the amount of waste on the streets and toxins in the environment, Leon County’s Hazardous Waste Center holds collection events on the first Saturday of the month between May and September where residents are encouraged to drop off up to 50 pounds of their household hazardous waste and electronics.

According to the Hazardous Waste Manager Richard Lobinske, the center has been collecting an average of 10,000 pounds of hazardous waste since September of 2017.

“Residents should use our services to help keep hazardous and toxic reactive materials out of local landfills and water supply,” Lobinske said. “These services also help to prevent fires and explosions in garbage trucks when incompatible items have mixed inside of the compactor box.”

The Hazardous Waste Center has a collection event scheduled for May 5. Residents are encouraged to check Leon County Hazardous Waste Center’s website to see the list of acceptable and non-acceptable items the center will collect.