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The 2017 Great American Cleanup is Underway!

Posted on March 2, 2017 by | Comments Off

GAC2016Hampton Roads volunteers will be out in full force working across the region to pick up roadside litter, clean up beaches and shorelines, improve community parks and more. The 2017 Great American Cleanup™ is underway, now through June, and residents can find a list of planned community projects, or find out how to start their own, by checking out this regional list of happenings.

Cared for communities tend to be safe, desirable places with great curb appeal. But participating in a Great American Cleanup event is about so much more than protecting neighborhood property values. It’s also important for protecting our region’s rich natural resources, booming tourism industry and overall quality of life. 

LMinner-GAC_2016_2Spearheaded by Keep America Beautiful, the Great American Cleanup is the country’s largest community improvement program. Litter cleanups and recycling events typically top the list of activities led by local Keep America Beautiful affiliates, but there’s also a focus on individual neighborhoods. The “Clean Your Block” theme promotes not only clean communities, but also community engagement, pride and stewardship – behaviors that lead to lasting, positive block-by-block impacts nationwide. Citizens are encouraged to organize a beautification or cleanup project in their neighborhood and celebrate their hard work with a block party once that project is completed. It’s a great way to see neighbors, meet new friends and understand how we’re all connected to the region.

FINWR: Volunteer Site Captains conduct a cleanup on Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuge. Cleanups can be public or private. And while neighbors are bonding and strengthening their sense of community pride, the region’s natural resources are gaining the long-term benefits of cleaner communities. In 2016, nearly 4,500 volunteers across five cities and counties recovered over 100 tons of trash from over 400 sites. And that’s just a fraction of the real impact when the work done by all 17 cities and counties is taken into consideration.  

Organizing a clean up or beautification event for your business, office or neighborhood is the perfect way to create safer, more beautiful spaces for both man and animal. Get involved and learn how to organize your own “Clean Your Block” project for the Great American Cleanup!

Photo Credit: Keep Norfolk Beautiful

Photo Credit: Keep Norfolk Beautiful

Volunteers cleanup in Ocean View Photo Credit: Keep Norfolk Beautiful

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Posted in: Beautification, Community events, Don't litter!, Reduce reuse and recycle

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Is Your Child’s Car Seat Unsafe?

Posted on February 1, 2017 by | Comments Off

baby-617411_960_720Did you know that an old or broken safety seat could be putting a child in danger?

Car seats that are over 8 years old, expired, purchased  secondhand or involved in a car accident all pose safety risks for young children. Unknown wear and tear or other damage to these car seats makes them less effective in protecting your most precious cargo. To help keep our young children as safe as possible, Drive Safe Hampton Roads, along with Walmart, AAA Tidewater Virginia, DMV: Virginia Highway Safety Office, Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, WVEC Channel 13,  Hoffman Beverage,  and Waste Management of Virginia, Inc. have teamed up to conduct the 28th Annual Old, Used, Borrowed and Abused Child Safety Seat Round-Up.  During the month of February, the public is invited to bring old, used or abused car seats to a participating drop-off location for a $5 reward and the good feeling of knowing that you are helping keep kids safe while protecting the environment.

If you have any questions about the Round-Up or traffic safety issues, please call 757-498-2562 or email dshr@drivesafehr.org.

Download the event flyer

Download a list of drop-off locations.

Posted in: Community events, Reduce reuse and recycle

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Getting My Feet Wet – The International Coastal Cleanup

Posted on November 29, 2016 by | Comments Off

TWayne Joneshe City of Suffolk, for the first time, took part in the International Coastal Cleanup organized by Ocean Conservancy.  In Virginia this initiative is coordinated locally through Clean Virginia Waterways based at Longwood University.  The initiative is designed to raise awareness about and reduce ocean marine debris.  However, it’s more than just a traditional cleanup.  It is an effort to understand what type of debris and how much is getting into our waterways.  To understand it, a survey must be taken to find out how many tires, plastic bottles and kitchen sinks etc. are found within the area surveyed.  This makes this initiative more complicated than your traditional cleanup.  As Litter Control Coordinator for the city and veteran Clean the Bay Day Captain I knew that conducting a debris survey of the downtown section of the Nansemond River shoreline in kayaks and canoes would be challenging.  Not challenging because it’s mentally complicated, but practically, as it’s not easy cleaning out the wetlands, reaching for plastic bottles, completing a survey whilst trying not to drift or drop something. 

So being our first year, and as a seasoned kayaker, I knew it would be literally a juggling act and so I wanted to “get my feet wet” before we really promoted it and recruited volunteers.  I registered our cleanup with Clean Virginia Waterways, but I kept it exclusive to people I knew with the goal of getting feedback so that next year when we roll it out to the public it would run smoothly and give us a good foundation to build on year-on-year.  As an experienced volunteer coordinator it’s essential that an event runs smoothly and is well-organized.  Nothing frustrates a person donating their time more than a poorly organized and executed event. 

Debris CollectedSo what did we learn from our 3 hour pilot effort on a beautiful Saturday morning in October?  To do this in canoes and kayaks it takes two people.  One person has the litter grabbers and one person with the pencil and clipboard to record the data.  I had originally thought that we would do the cleanup and then do the survey by emptying the bags and recording all the debris using the app developed by Ocean Conservancy.  However, it quickly became apparent by the rate of bags we were filling that this method would be extremely time consuming and, in addition, I realized there was a lot of larger items we had to leave behind, but needed to include in the survey.  The largest of these items was an ice refrigerator like the ones you find outside any gas station.  I suspect this came from the gas station washed out by Hurricane Mathew the week before and then marooned in the wetlands.

David KeelingHaving the right equipment is also important.  I purchased four sets of six feet long litter grabbers and tested them out during this cleanup and they are great at reaching into the wetlands and grabbing plastic bottles and other types of consumer packaging.  I would highly recommend these for this type of a cleanup.  It’s also important to have a larger canoe or small boat to go between teams offloading the collected debris, providing supplies and dropping the debris at the collection point.      

I’m thankful for having done a test run before actively recruiting volunteers next year.  It’s a fun and an educational experience as well as rewarding to be part of an international effort to collect data and contribute to a global picture of what type of debris is finding its way into our oceans.  With quantitative data, governments, businesses, non-profits, individuals etc. can begin to address the problem and work towards solutions and hopefully we will see a downward trend in marine debris. 

One of the highlights for me was meeting a guy named Bill Farrell.  Bill was enjoying a morning stroll by the river as we were in the middle of the cleanup.  He shouted out to me “thanks for doing this, I have a kayak, how can I get involved?” so I told him I’m the Litter Control Coordinator in Public Works.  Monday morning when I was back in the office he called me and gave me his details and said his wife would like to help as well.  I never expected to be recruiting for next year so soon but I’m looking forward to it and making this an annual Suffolk event which will be fun and educational for all. 

For more information about Clean Virginia Waterways and the International Coastal Cleanup http://www.longwood.edu/cleanva/

So what did we find?

Items Found

Number of Each Item Found

Plastic Bottles

227

Aluminum Cans

114

Glass Bottles

63

Styrofoam Cups / Food containers

58

Plastic Bags

18

Tires

4

Wooden Planks

4

Yard Signs

3

Oil Cartons

3

Traffic Cones

2

Buoy

2

Cooler

2

Ice Refrigerator

1

House Insulation

1

Tool Box

1

Trash Can Lid inscribed “Please Don’t Litter”

1

Guest blog contributed by Wayne Jones, Litter Control Coordinator with the City of Suffolk.

Posted in: Community events, Don't litter!, Keeping storm drains free, Waterways

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America Recycles Day 2016

Posted on October 25, 2016 by | Comments Off

askHRgreen---America-Recycles-Day---v01November 15th is America Recycles Day and it is the only nationally-recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the U.S. It’s our hope that celebrating recycling and all the wonderful things it does for our region will inspire residents to recycle more, trash less all year long. In honor of America Recycles Day, there are a variety of outreach and recycling collection events across Hampton Roads in the month of November. 

For more details about the America Recycles Day event nearest you, please check out the listing below.


Chesapeake

Who: Open to the public
What: 
Chesapeake Recycles Day
Where: Tidewater Community College
Date: November 12, 2016
Time: 9am-noon 
What to bring: Electronics (no TVs, please), clothing, household items, household hazardous waste, paper & sensitive documents, plastic bags as well as general recyclables - for complete details click here

Hampton

Who: Open to residents only of Hampton, James City County, Poquoson, Williamsburg, and York County; proof of residency may be required
What: 
VPPSA Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Recycling
Where: Hampton Public Works Operations Complex - 419 N. Armistead Ave
Date: November 19, 2016
Time: 8am-noon 
What to bring: 
Electronics (no TVs, please) and household hazardous waste - view complete event information at VPPSA online

Isle of Wight County

Who: Open to the public
What: America Recycles Day Plastic Bag Exchange Event

Where: Farm Fresh Supermarket, 1282 Smithfield Plaza, Smithfield, VA
Date: November 16, 2016
Time: 9am-noon 
What to bring: Bring 20 plastic bags or films and get a reusable bag in exchange. 

James City County

Who: Open to the public
What:
3rd Annual Litter & Recycling Expo 
Where: Warhill Sports Complex
Date: October 22, 2016
Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Who: Open to residents only of Hampton, James City County, Poquoson, Williamsburg, and York County; proof of residency may be required
What: 
VPPSA Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Recycling
Where: County Drive, Yorktown (off Goodwin Neck Rd)
Date: November 12, 2016
Time: 8am-noon 
What to bring: 
Electronics (no TVs, please) and household hazardous waste - view complete event information at VPPSA online

Newport News

Who: Newport News residents only
What: 
Bulk Recycling of Cardboard & Residential Recyclables
Where:  Denbigh Resource Recovery Center – 330 Atkinson Way
Date: Monday through Saturday (excluding city observed holidays)
Time: 8am-4pm
What to bring: Residential recyclables and bulk cardboard. For more information, call 886-7947

Norfolk

Who: Open to the public (Proof of Norfolk residency needed only for televisions and household hazardous waste)
What: 
America Recycles Day
Where: 
Norfolk Waste Management Facility – 1176 Pineridge Road
Date: 
November 19, 2016
Time: 
9am-2pm 
What to bring: 
unwanted clothing and décor, electronics, general recyclables, documents for shredding, and household hazardous waste and more. The first 150 residents to bring a milk or juice carton to be recycled will receive a free reusable tote! For complete details view the event flyer

Poquoson

Who: Open to residents only of Hampton, James City County, Poquoson, Williamsburg, and York County; proof of residency may be required
What: 
VPPSA Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Recycling
Where: County Drive, Yorktown (off Goodwin Neck Rd)
Date: November 12, 2016
Time: 8am-noon 
What to bring: 
Electronics (no TVs, please) and household hazardous waste - view complete event information at VPPSA online

Who: Open to residents only of Hampton, James City County, Poquoson, Williamsburg, and York County; proof of residency may be required
What: 
VPPSA Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Recycling
Where: Hampton Public Works Operations Complex - 419 N. Armistead Ave
Date: November 19, 2016
Time: 8am-noon 
What to bring: 
Electronics (no TVs, please) and household hazardous waste - view complete event information at VPPSA online

Portsmouth

Who: Open to the public (No commercial vehicles please)
What: 
Portsmouth Recycles Day
Where: Monumental United Methodist Church - 450 Dinwiddie Street
Date: November 5, 2016
Time: 9am-noon 
What to bring:
electronics, household hazardous waste, documents for shredding, Goodwill items (clothing, kitchenware, household items) Please bring a non-perishable food item in exchange for this free recycling event. Download the event flyer for complete details.

Suffolk

Check back later for details!

Virginia Beach

Who: Open to the public
What: 
America Recycles Day Celebration – At this educational event, TCC students and the public will have the opportunity to speak face-to-face with Virginia Beach recycling specialists who can answer their questions about sustainable living practices like recycling and donation. Attendees can enjoy refreshments donated by the TCC Student Activities Office. (Please note, this is not a drop-off event; however, drop-off locations are available at other City locations www.vbgov.com/wastemgt.)
Where: Tidewater Community College/Joint Use Library - Michael Labouve Dr. off of South Rosemont Road
Date: November 17, 2015
Time: 11am-1pm 

Who: Virginia Beach residents only
What: 
Virginia Beach Residential Recycling Program
Where: Virginia Beach Landfill and Resource Recovery Center - 1989 Jake Sears Road
Date: Tuesday through Saturday (excluding city observed holidays)
Time: 7am-4:30pm 
What to bring: 
electronics, metals, household hazardous waste, small household items, clothing/shoes, oyster/clam shells and more - for complete details visit www.vbgov.com/landfill

Williamsburg

Who: Open to the public
What: 
3rd Annual Litter & Recycling Expo 
Where: Warhill Sports Complex
Date: October 22, 2016
Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Who: Open to residents only of Hampton, James City County, Poquoson, Williamsburg, and York County; proof of residency may be required
What: 
VPPSA Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Recycling
Where: County Drive, Yorktown (off Goodwin Neck Rd)
Date: November 12, 2016
Time: 8am-noon 
What to bring: 
Electronics (no TVs, please) and household hazardous waste - view complete event information at VPPSA online

York County

Who: Open to residents only of Hampton, James City County, Poquoson, Williamsburg, and York County; proof of residency may be required
What: 
VPPSA Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Recycling
Where: County Drive, Yorktown (off Goodwin Neck Rd)
Date: November 12, 2016
Time: 8am-noon 
What to bring: 
Electronics (no TVs, please) and household hazardous waste - view complete event information at VPPSA online

Who: Open to residents only of Hampton, James City County, Poquoson, Williamsburg, and York County; proof of residency may be required
What: 
VPPSA Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Recycling
Where: Hampton Public Works Operations Complex - 419 N. Armistead Ave
Date: November 19, 2016
Time: 8am-noon 
What to bring: 
Electronics (no TVs, please) and household hazardous waste - view complete event information at VPPSA online

Posted in: Community events, Reduce reuse and recycle

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Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Posted on October 11, 2016 by | Comments Off

Medication DisposalMark your calendars because Saturday, October 22, 2016 is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day!

In order to prevent prescription drug abuse and protect our waterways, we must dispose of medications responsibly. As part of the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on October 22nd, law enforcement agencies across Hampton Roads will accept all prescription and over-the-counter medications from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm. Find the collection site nearest you by entering your zip code into the National Take Back Initiative Collection Site locator

If you can’t make it out to one of the prescription drug collection sites on the 22nd, please visit our medication disposal page for information on how to dispose of your expired, unused, or unwanted medications the proper way.

Posted in: Clean and safe tap water, Community events, Going Green, Household tips, Uncategorized, Waterways

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