Tools & Tips to Clean Up & Green Up Your Community
Tools & Tips to Clean Up & Green Up Your Community

Massachusetts Beautification Bulletin | March 2022
Keep Massachusetts Beautiful
Dear Friend,
To borrow from recent headlines, the amount of litter along Massachusetts roadsides is a slap in the face to anyone who values living in a clean, green, litter-free environment. Please scroll down for views and news about our efforts to clean up communities and the entire state of Massachusetts, and how you can help.
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We Have a (Litter) Problem 

After another long New England winter, Massachusetts residents are now bidding a welcome hello to spring. The sun is setting later as the daffodils edge closer to blooming every day. But with the last of the snowbanks now melted away, vast amounts of litter are once again visible everywhere you look. 

From Cape Cod to Boston to the Berkshires and everywhere in between, litter is visible along virtually every Massachusetts highway, sidewalk, public park, hiking trail, and beach. Eventually, much of this litter makes its way into streams, rivers, and our oceans.

Every year, the taxpayers of Massachusetts spend millions of dollars to clean up this mess. In addition, thousands of volunteers from Keep Massachusetts Beautiful’s 40 local chapters and other volunteer groups donate countless hours battling the ever-growing piles of litter.

Yet virtually no money or effort is dedicated to LITTER PREVENTION in Massachusetts. Over the past few years, we have written to our Governor and the head of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and urged them to demonstrate some leadership on this issue. 

Massachusetts needs a comprehensive, coordinated Anti-Litter Public Awareness Campaign that would include a consistent, memorable, Massachusetts-themed anti-littering message. These messages could be displayed on electronic message boards along our highways, as well as on MassDOT-managed billboards. Public Service Announcements could be broadcast on TV and radio, local cable access TV, social media, and be integrated with Registry of Motor Vehicles communications to drivers. 

We should also incorporate basic anti-littering lessons into our schools’ curriculum to avoid raising another generation of litterers. But only if our state leaders show some leadership on this issue.

Volunteers can accomplish only so much, especially when it comes to cleaning our interstate highways. We need Massachusetts leaders to take a stand against litter. Other governors and states have championed similar campaigns to raise awareness about litter prevention and educate people of all ages to dispose of their trash properly. 

This includes Don’t Mess With Texas, Nobody Trashes Tennessee, Love The Boot (Louisiana) and Virginia is For Lovers, Not Litterers. Stepped-up police enforcement of existing—but largely ignored—anti-littering laws would also help. 

Business leaders can also do their part by partnering with Keep Massachusetts Beautiful to provide volunteers, board members, and financial support. Together, we can work toward creating a more beautiful state, something that’s good for businesses, the economy, the residents of Massachusetts, and our environment.

While we wait for our state's leaders to finally take action, here are four steps you can take to support our cause:
  1. Urge our state leaders to launch a Litter Prevention & Cleanup Task Force by signing our petition at
  2. Send a letter to Governor Charlie Baker or Jamey Tesler, the head of MassDOT. Visit this page and scroll down to download our Litter Free Massachusetts letter template
  3. Participate in one of the dozens of Great Massachusetts Cleanup events this spring
  4. Take individual action and join the Massachusetts Litter Cleanup Crew.
Sign Our Petition Now!

Introducing The Next-Gen Environmental Leader Scholarship

Keep Massachusetts Beautiful has launched a new annual $2,500 Next-Gen Environmental Leader Scholarship. This program will support a Massachusetts student who will be pursuing a degree in environmental studies or a related field at an accredited institution of higher learning.

This scholarship is open only to students who attend high school in a community that supports a certified local KMB chapter. For 2022, this includes the following communities: 

Ashby, Ashburnham, Attleboro, Canton, Charlton, Easton, Framingham, Gardner, Hyde Park, Mansfield, Natick, Newton, North Attleboro, Randolph, Rehoboth, Sherborn, Shrewsbury, Stoneham, Walpole, Weymouth, and Worcester.

The submission deadline for 2022 is May 31. For more details or to submit a scholarship application, please visit our website
Learn More Or Apply
Great Massachusetts Cleanup
Join a cleanup in your community!

Join a Great Massachusetts Cleanup Event This Spring

Our events calendar is filling up with dozens of local community litter cleanups in April and May. 
Visit our calendar to find an event in your community that you can join. If nothing is being organized, visit the Great Massachusetts Cleanup webpage for additional resources to help you organize a successful spring cleanup in your community, including discounted pricing on trash grabber tools, volunteer tee shirts, and free coaching. Contact us if you need help!
Join a Cleanup in Your Community

KMB Chapter Spotlight: Keep Hyde Park Beautiful 

On Sunday, March 27, dozens of volunteers from Keep Hype Park Beautiful braved the cold to help clean up the Fowl Meadow and Meadow Road in Readville. Volunteers collected a dumpster’s worth of trash, 1,400 empty nip bottles, a boiler, a refrigerator, and (file this under “gross”) 10 garbage bags full of pee bottles! Special thanks to co-host state representative Rob Consalvo’s office, Fowl Meadow warrior Martha McDonough, and Mass DCR for their help.
Learn More About Keep Hyde Park Beautiful

Recycling Tip of the Month: Fluorescent Light Bulbs Don't Belong in Trash or Recycling Bins

While you should never put any light bulbs in the recycling bin, it’s particularly important to keep mercury-containing light bulbs out of both the trash and recycling. These light bulbs can easily break and release mercury—a toxic heavy metal—into the air. If they break at any point during the disposal process, someone in your home, a waste hauler, or a disposal facility worker could be exposed to the released mercury vapor. 

While the small amount of mercury in a single light bulb probably won’t affect you in the short term, exposure to mercury over time can have serious health impacts. Ever heard the expression “mad as a hatter?" Mercury was used for over a century in the hat-making trade, but it wasn’t until the 1940s that the connection was made between mercury exposure and the erratic behavior and slurred speech common among hatmakers. In Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter’s signature mood swings and nervous tics are likely symptoms of mercury poisoning.

As a rule of thumb, all fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury. The most common type of fluorescent bulbs you’ll find at home are compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), which come in several shapes and sizes. Always dispose of mercury-containing light bulbs at a drop-off site. There are hundreds of sites across Massachusetts that collect mercury-containing products, including major retailers (like Lowe’s and Home Depot), local transfer stations, and municipal health departments. Use MassDEP’s interactive map to find a drop-off location near you.

Note: This content comes courtesy of MassDEP’s RecycleSmartMA program. Sign up for the RecycleSmartMA newsletter.
Find a Fluorescent Bulb Dropoff Center Near You
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Thank you for reading our newsletter and please contact me if I can answer any questions you may have about our programs, launching a local KMB chapter in your community, or sponsorship opportunities. 
Neil Rhein, Founder & Executive Director
Keep Massachusetts Beautiful
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