Thousands Engaged in 2015 Great American Cleanup

Just released! The wrap report for this year’s Great American Cleanup campaign. Mālama Maui Nui hosts five cleanup campaigns in Maui County each year, and GAC is one of our cleanup campaigns in which the entire state participates under the organization of the charitable nonprofit Keep the Hawaiian Islands Beautiful (KHIB):

Over 17,000 people participated in 200-plus events that promoted environmental stewardship between March 1 and June 30, 2015, ranging from community cleanups and recycling collections to beautification projects and educational outreach programs.

Maui County numbers are also impressive:

  • 68 events
  • 1,062 volunteers
  • 4,946 participants
  • 27,099 lbs trash
  • 1,740 lbs greenwaste

People in Action for 2015 Great American Cleanup with Affiliates of Keep the Hawaiian Islands Beautiful

Not surprisingly, beach cleanups dominated this year’s Great American Cleanup (GAC) activities in Hawai’i, with volunteers removing thousands of pounds of litter from coastlines and surrounding areas that would have otherwise likely become marine debris and threaten the health of Hawai’i’s reef systems and wildlife. Cleanups ranged from casual activities such as the 15-minute “speed-cleanups” that Keep Puako Beautiful encourages beach go-ers to conduct anytime, to large-scale coordinated efforts, like the collaborative project orchestrated by Nani ‘O Wai’anae at Pa’akea Road in late April that involved several community groups and civic organizations working together to combat the unsightly effects of illegal dumping in the area.

Great American Cleanup coordinators and volunteers are motivated by the notion that litter-free roadways and public spaces allow for the environment’s natural beauty to shine. Plants thrive in their healthy habitats, and people can experience first-hand the richness of Hawai’i’s natural resources.

Other GAC events focused on the importance of reusing and recycling to engage environmental stewardship in the community, such as Recycle Hawai’i‘s ‘Art & Science of Recycling Project’ on Big Island and Mālama Maui Nui’s coproduction of ‘The Art of Trash‘ with SharingAloha Maui. Both events featured the works of local students and/or residents made from repurposed materials. These educational programs highlight the importance of diverting materials as a means to alleviate pressure on County landfills, a particularly important issue for a state with finite available land.

GAC Participants were young and old, representing themselves as individuals or as members of community groups, businesses, and government entities. “The collective effort is crucial to the success of the Great American Cleanup,” remarks KHIB President Michael Owens. “Without community support and participation from all levels, these actions that honor the value of our precious environment would not be nearly as successful.”

The Great American Cleanup is the country’s largest community improvement program organized by the national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful, of which KHIB is a state affiliate. Each year, the Great American Cleanup engages more than 4 million volunteers and participants across the country to take action in their local communities to create positive change and lasting impact.

The local KHIB affiliates who participated in this year’s Great American Cleanup include Keep Hawai’i Beautiful, Mālama Maui Nui, Keep Honolulu Beautiful, Nani ‘O Wai’anae, The Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate Park, Adopt-a-Beach Hawai’i, and Keep Puako Beautiful.

The entities that supported each local affiliate include:
Keep Hawai’i Beautiful/Recycle Hawai’i: National Environmental Education Foundation.

Keep Puako Beautiful: Blue Wilderness Dive Adventures; Hawaii Surf & Kayak; Hawaii Wildlife Fund; 2Papayas LLC; Annie Mendoza; the Grainger Ohana; Jeff Fear’s West Hawaii’s Beach Cleanup; Hawaii County DEM.

Mālama Maui Nui: County of Maui, Department of Environmental Management; Maui Mall; Whole Foods Market Kahului; Flatbread Company; Ma’alaea General Store & Cafe; Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment; Rock & Brews Pa’ia.

The Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate Park: 9th Island Sports Grill; Aloha Beach Resort; Bobby V Pizzeria; Brick Oven Pizza; Carl Lozar; Cost-U-Less; Costco; Courtyard Kauai Resort; Department of Parks & Recreation; Garden Island Barbecue; Gwen Margolis; Hukilau Lanai Restaurant, Kauai Coast Resort; Ibaan Table Rentals; Jasoncoffeejoy; Olympic Café; Passion Bakery Café; Ron’s Electric; Rotary Club of Kapa‘a; Safeway Supermarket; Starbucks – Kapaa; Subway Sandwiches & Salads – Kapaa; Wal-Mart; Wyndham Hotels and Resorts; Zero Waste Kauai; Home Depot.

Adopt-a-Beach Hawai’i: McDonald’s Hale’iwa; Kaneʻohe Marine Base; US Navy Pearl Harbor; US Army, Schofield Barracks; Leilehua High School Biology Department.

Keep Honolulu Beautiful: City and County of Honolulu, Department of Parks and Recreation.

Nani ‘O Wai’anae: Honolulu Police Department; Mikilua Farmers; Makakilo Missionaries.

McDonald’s supported all affiliates statewide by providing sandwich coupons to volunteers participating in GAC cleanups. Sponsors of the national 2015 Great American Cleanup include Dow, Glad Products Company, Lowe’s, BNSF Railway, Niagara Bottling, and Altria.

Efforts to clean and conserve the Hawai’ian islands continue year-round. Affiliates are now gearing up for ‘Get the Drift and Bag It‘, the next cleanup campaign that focuses on protecting oceans, waterways, and marine wildlife from trash and debris as part of the International Coastal Cleanup on September 19.

People interested in volunteering or in organizing their own cleanup can email Keep the Hawaiian Islands Beautiful or call (808) 383-8177 to connect with their local affiliate.