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

Massachusetts Beautification Bulletin | December 2022
Keep Massachusetts Beautiful
Dear Friend,
We're wrapping up a successful 2022 here at KMB and we want to thank all of our volunteers, chapter leaders, and business partners! As we look ahead to 2023, we are hopeful that our new Governor will be a strong ally in our efforts to clean up the mess in Massachusetts. Scroll down to learn to how you can help us raise awareness of the highway litter problem in our state with Governor Healey.
Support a Cleaner, Greener Massachusetts!
Sign Our Litter Prevention Petition
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Medtronic Volunteers at Boston's Old City Hall

Thank You For a Beautiful 2022!

With the start of a new year just days away, we'd like to thank the amazing people and organizations that are helping make Massachusetts a cleaner, greener place to live, work, and play. This includes:

Our Volunteers: This year, thousands of volunteers from our 40 local KMB chapters, as well as many unaffiliated organizations, turned out to clean up litter and beautify communities across Massachusetts. None of this success would be possible without people stepping up to volunteer in their own communities or through their employers. Thank you to everyone who volunteered to clean up or green up their community in 2022! A special shout-out goes to the 1,000+ people who regularly clean up their adopted routes as part of the Massachusetts Litter Cleanup Crew.

Our Chapter Leaders: Our volunteers wouldn't be able to do what they do without the leadership of people who lead a local KMB chapter. Thank you to these selfless leaders who donate so much of their time and energy to improve their communities. Much of what we seek to accomplish boils down to having a sense of community pride—and these leaders exemplify that spirit!

Our Business Partners: Whether it’s our annual Plant Something Bee-eautiful grants, our Next-Gen Environmental Leader Scholarship, or our Great Massachusetts Cleanup program, the common denominator is that these programs all require funding. Therefore, we would like to thank the companies and individuals who donate money and materials to support our mission every year. Follow this link to see who supported our mission in 2022. And, if you’d like to donate to our cause, we welcome your support!
Read Our 2022 Annual Report
Gov. Healey Transition
Sign Our Petition Calling for a Litter Prevention & Cleanup Task Force

Urge Governor Healey To Take Action!

The start of a new year means a new Governor in the Massachusetts State House. We're hopeful that Governor Healey will finally bring some much needed attention to the issue of litter reduction along Massachusetts State highways. Creative solutions—and action—are long overdue!

While volunteers have made a meaningful difference in cleaning up local roads, parks, and public spaces, we need help from the highest levels of state government in order to clean up the mess in Massachusetts. 

You can make a difference by letting Governor Healey’s transition team know that you support efforts to clean up Massachusetts highways. Please consider reaching out and asking Governor Healey to support our plan for a Massachusetts Litter Prevention & Cleanup Task Force. Share your thoughts via this link and be sure to select the "How We Get Around/Transportation" menu item to ensure this feedback gets to the right people. Or, if you prefer, download our Leaders Against Litter letter and send it to the Healey administration via the link above or through the mail.
Contact Gov. Healey's Transition Team
Volunteers with Rob Ninkovich at Gillette Stadium 

KMB, Patriots & Anheuser Busch Team Up To Tackle Gameday Recycling

Thank you to the volunteers who helped us promote gameday recycling at Gillette Stadium on Nov. 6 and Nov. 20. Along with former Patriot Rob Ninkovich, volunteers engaged with tailgaters about the need to recycle as much as possible at their parking lot festivities and handed out recycling bags. Afterward, volunteers enjoyed free access to the Bud Light Patio and were able to walk on the field at half-time. These efforts helped support Anheuser Busch's National Recycling League program. 
Volunteer With Your Co-Workers

Support a Cleaner, Greener, Litter-Free Massachusetts During the Year-End Giving Season

It's not too late to make a 2022 donation to KMB. A donation of just $15 will cover the cost of shipping one Massachusetts Litter Cleanup Crew kit to one of our volunteers. Please consider Keep Massachusetts Beautiful in your year-end charitable donations.
Support KMB With Your Donation

Zero-Waste Zone:

The Death of Plastics Recycling Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

A recent report from Greenpeace USA Report claimed that less than 5% of plastic in the U.S. is recycled. This report made headlines, but probably did more to hurt the cause of environmental protection than it did to help it. 

That’s because many people don’t bother to read beyond headlines, and some of those in the media who shared the Greenpeace report failed to dig deeper and speak to the recycling companies that process these materials (and also employ thousands of people).
The Greenpeace report based its claim on the assumption that if all the plastic products produced in the world – from car bumpers and medical devices to appliances and polyester clothing – are lumped together and compared to the plastic that is recycled from residential and commercial recycling programs, you get a recycling rate of 5% or 9%, depending on the data source. 

Those percentages are misleading. They give the impression that all of the plastic manufactured and consumed is designed to be recycled and meant to be recycled – which is not accurate. The only plastics that are recyclable in our residential and commercial recycling programs are rigid plastic containers. In Massachusetts, if you recycle only the containers pictured in MassDEP's Smart Recycling Guide, you can rest assured that 90% of them will be sold to recycling reclaimers to begin their next life.
We agree with what MassDEP wrote in their recent RecycleSmartMA newsletter:

Our world is full of plastic and there’s way too much of it. We need to produce and use less, especially the kind we can’t recycle and for which there are better alternatives (like Styrofoam). We agree that a lot of perfectly good plastic bottles, jars, jugs, and tubs are not recycled. We also agree that recycling rates need to improve (and we truly hope that these reports don’t result in even less recycling)! There are too many areas across the country that do not have equitable access to recycling (40 million U.S. households don’t have a recycling option). We agree that recycling is not a panacea for our waste problem, but it IS a valuable tool in the toolkit and should not be dismissed or disparaged. We agree that everything that CAN be recycled, SHOULD be recycled. 

While transitioning to reuse and refill and reducing reliance on single-use plastic are all worthy goals, realistically, plastic packaging is not going away any time soon. And the fact remains that here in Massachusetts, a good percentage of our plastic does get recycled. Massachusetts is home to nine Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) where more than 638,000 tons of plastic containers, paper, bottles, and cans go for sorting every year. 

While plastic recycling faces many challenges, we believe we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. For more on this topic, read these recent responses to the Greenpeace USA report from MassDEP and the South Shore Recycling Cooperative:
Straight Talk About Plastics Recycling

Note: Some of this content comes courtesy of MassDEP’s RecycleSmartMA program. Sign up for the RecycleSmartMA newsletter.

The KMB Blog:

What You Need to Know About the New Bans on Mattress and Textile Disposal 

New regulations went into effect on Nov. 1 that aim to promote recycling and reduce trash disposal across Massachusetts. Notably, mattresses and textiles have now been banned from disposal.
Each year 600,000 unwanted mattresses and 200,000 tons of textiles from Massachusetts are sent to landfills or waste incinerators. One-third of the mattresses come from residents and two-thirds come from businesses and institutions. Read our blog to learn ways to manage recycling for your mattresses and textiles.
Learn More About Mattress & Textile Recycling

Launch a Local KMB Chapter in Your Community in 2023 

Does the litter along local roadways and public spaces in your community get under your skin? Do you wonder why nobody seems to be doing anything about it? If so, you've got all the makings of a Keep Massachusetts Beautiful chapter leader! Our local chapter leaders are action-oriented people who motivate and organize local volunteers and partner with local community leaders to clean up and green up their communities. They are a unique breed! If you'd like to make an impact in your community in 2023, learn more about launching a KMB chapter in your community.
Launch a KMB Chapter in Your Community!
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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. In the meantime, best wishes to you for a happy and healthy holiday season and new year ahead.
Neil Rhein, Founder & Executive Director
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