America Recycles Day has come and gone, but for Keep Atlanta Beautiful, its work of keeping the city clean and green never stops.
Keep Atlanta Beautiful is a nonprofit organization that provides solutions for recycling, litter, graffiti and public spaces that are depressed, inactive or unused. The organization is an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful and driven by the work of city and county governments, private industry and local community groups. Their mission, simply, is to make Atlanta one of the most beautiful cities.
“We’re trying to help everybody. It’s very rewarding because we do stuff that people haven’t done and we’re making a difference. We’ve had a history of taking things on that need to be done.”
Peggy Denby I Executive Director, Keep Atlanta Beautiful
That includes recycling, which Denby says is the “crown jewel” of what they do.
Keep Atlanta Beautiful offers recycling solutions for communities that ensure everything they collect is renewed, reused or recycled and kept out of the landfill. To achieve this, the organization has recycling locations in Buckhead and Old Fourth Ward where people can drop off their electronics, latex paint, Styrofoam and other hard-to-recycle items.
Electronic recycling in Atlanta remains the most popular for Denby’s group, which has recycled over 1 million pounds of computers, phones, televisions and other devices since 2008. Last year, Keep Atlanta Beautiful also collected:
- 119,690 pounds of paper.
- 19,316 pounds of metals.
- 13,862 pounds of glass.
- 7,131 pounds of textiles.
- 6,357 gallons of paint.
- 4,633 pounds of Styrofoam.
Litter and Graffiti Removal
As part of the beautification process, Keep Atlanta Beautiful tackles the city’s litter and graffiti problems, which have had a negative impact on property values and living standards in many of the city’s neighborhoods.
To combat the litter, which ends up in our waterways and oceans, Keep Atlanta Beautiful provides free cleanup supplies (latex gloves and trash bags) to those who want to improve their neighborhoods. The organization partners with the Department of Public Works to order, install and maintain trash cans purchased by local communities.
To conquer the city’s graffiti problems, Atlanta Paint Disposal – the paint recycler for Keep America Beautiful – collects paint for recycling at each of Keep Atlanta Beautiful’s recycling events. Atlanta Paint Disposal recycles the paint and provides it for graffiti paint-overs free of charge to City of Atlanta Departments of Parks, Public Works and Corrections.
“Graffiti was just a horrible thing in the city and wasn’t being dealt with,” Denby says. “Everyone wants their neighborhood to look nice. Nobody wants graffiti and illegal signs. Once people get going, the momentum picks up. It’s impressive.”
Improving Quality of Life for Everyone
Keep Atlanta Beautiful also works with communities to restore public spaces that are depressed, inactive or unused.
Last year, Keep Atlanta Beautiful formed a partnership with Fulton County to update the water feature in front of the Fulton County Government Center.
The project calls for a full renovation of the water garden and the bordering streetscape in an effort to improve pedestrian circulation and enhance the landscape by adding native, adapted and aquatic plants.
It’s just another step in the process of, well, keeping Atlanta beautiful.
For Denby, there isn’t a single service that she doesn’t enjoy providing.
“We’ve made an impact in the city with all of them,” she says.
Looking to start a community cleanup in your neighborhood? From latex gloves to paint, Keep Atlanta Beautiful can lend you the necessary tools you need to beautify your community. Simply send an email to info@keepatlantabeautiful with the following info:
- The name of your group.
- The date of your cleanup.
- The neighborhood you’re cleaning up.
- The Council District where the cleanup will occur.
- The date you will pick up the supplies.
- The number of volunteers you expect.
- Do you need to borrow a litter pickup tool?
Budget Dumpster is your community-focused source for a dumpster rental in Atlanta. This article is part of a series spotlighting organizations that are making a difference in the communities we serve. If you know of another great organization, let us know in the comments!