How to Make the Great Outdoors Even Greater

June represents Great Outdoors Month – the perfect excuse to get outside and PLAY. Here in Gwinnett County, we are not only blessed with an award-winning Parks & Recreation Department that manages a veritable treasure trove of passive and recreational parks, but we are also fortunate to have so many wonderful local outdoor destinations nearby – such as Stone Mountain Park, Lake Lanier and the NEW TopGolf at The Exchange at Gwinnett. Of course, you don’t need a destination to get out there and enjoy the Great Outdoors. You could walk around your neighborhood, explore a path through the woods, discover a waterway near your home and so much more.

WHAT IS 152 & YOU?

One of the things that threatens the natural beauty and health of our collective Gwinnett County community and environment is litter. As a Keep America Beautiful affiliate, Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful is proud to embrace one of the national nonprofit’s newest initiatives… 152 & You. Having just released its 2020 NATIONAL LITTER STUDY – the most comprehensive study of litter in America, one of the key findings was that if every resident of the U.S. made the individual action of picking up 152 pieces of litter (all at once) there would be no litter on the ground until someone littered again.

SUNSCREEN, SNACKS, BUG SPRAY… AND A TRASH BAG

When you’re walking out the door or packing the car for an excursion, it’s an easy behavioral change to start bringing a trash bag with you on walks around the neighborhood, visits to the park, adventures in the woods and strolls along the banks of a local stream. You could even designate one family member to collect recyclables in one bag and another to collect trash in a separate bag, then add them to your corresponding bins when you return home. It’s setting a great example for the kids, and you can even make a game of it by seeing which family member can get closest to (or even surpass) 152 pieces. While teaching family members to pick up after others outdoors, make sure they’re picking up after themselves, as well. Picnics are a terrific way to celebrate Great Outdoors Month, but only if every piece of litter finds its way to the appropriate receptacle.

GC&B MAKES IT EASY TO TAKE ACTION

Beyond personal cleanups, you can also make a point to volunteer for a Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful cleanup event or plan your own to submit as a Great American Cleanup project so if it’s chosen – GC&B will provide all the supplies. Another couple of options are to sign up for our Adopt-A-Road or Adopt-A-Stream programs to have a regular impact on the appearance and welfare of our local roadways and waterways.

POSITIVE STRIDES ARE ALREADY BEING MADE

Unfortunately, litter continues to be an issue in our country. The Keep America Beautiful 2020 National Litter Study revealed the following:

  • Nearly 50 billion pieces of litter were found along U.S. roadways and waterways – slightly more along waterways (25.9B) than roadways (23.7B)
  • That’s more than 2,000 pieces of litter PER MILE!
  • The most littered item continues to be cigarette butts, but this litter is down almost 70%
  • While we’re far from the litter-free society we’d all like to see, there has been a decrease of 54% in litter along United States roadways in the past decade.

There is still much to be done and YOU can help! To view the Keep America Beautiful 2020 Litter Study in its entirety, click HERE. To learn more about Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful events and programs, be sure to bookmark www.GwinnettCB.org and visit often as new events are added regularly. If you take part in 152 & You, post your photos on social media, tag Keep America Beautiful and Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful and use the hashtag #152andyou. You can find us on Twitter @gogreengwinnett, on Facebook @GwinnettCB and on Instagram @greengwinnett.

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