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Litter Enforcement Awareness Comes to Norfolk

Posted on March 25, 2014 by | Comments Off

KNBLogoIn an effort to better prevent litter, Keep Norfolk Beautiful (KNB) is implementing the Litter Enforcement Awareness Month (LEAM) initiative throughout April 2014. The initiative is embedded in KNB’s annual Great American Cleanup Program, and has shown successful throughout Northern Virginia, D.C. and Maryland for four years.  What’s the goal? Glad you asked! The initiative is poised to educate the public about current laws on littering, solid waste accumulation and illegal dumping, while also tracking the violations and sharing outcomes with Norfolk’s community.

Did you know that excessive litter is not just an eyesore; it also contributes to poor aesthetics for your neighborhood, a decrease in community pride, a decline in property value, and contributes to nuisance flooding due to clogged storm drains. Additionally, littering is illegal, covered under Chapter 14.5, Environmental Offenses of the Norfolk City code.  Any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a class one misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of not more than $2,500 per day and/or up to one year in jail.

As KNB serves to create a culture of environmental sustainability in Norfolk, we encourage you to volunteer with us! Your assistance is needed as we strive toward cleaner, safer and healthier neighborhoods in Norfolk. We welcome your ideas, as litter prevention affects Norfolk’s economic, environmental and social well-being.

To conclude this year’s LEAM initiative, KNB will host Keep Norfolk Beautiful Day, Saturday, May 3rd. Individuals and groups are invited to conduct litter cleanups throughout Norfolk.   Additionally, residents are encouraged to take their unwanted household goods, recyclable items, and electronics to KNB’s e-cycling event at 1176 Pineridge Road . You and your neighborhood should join us! Visit us online for more details about Keep Norfolk Beautiful Day.

And for other Great American Cleanup events going on throughout Hampton Roads, check out the event listing on

Guest blog post submitted by Lisa Renee Jennings, Clean Community Coordinator with Keep Norfolk Beautiful.

Posted in: Community events, Don't litter!

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Virginia Zoo Supports Creative Recycling Effort in Kenya

Posted on March 14, 2014 by | Comments Off

Photo Courtesy of Virginia Zoo

Greg Bockheim, Executive Director of the Virginia Zoo.
Photo Courtesy of Virginia Zoo

It’s almost time for flip flop season! Whether I’m on the beach or hitting the grocery store, there’s a good chance you’ll find me in flip flops from late March through early October. That’s why I was a little bummed to learn that flip flops are among the most dangerous and most common pollutants in the world’s oceans. Like plastic bottles and plastic bags, flip flops are particularly harmful because fish and other marine animals eat them resulting in damage to the digestive system, malnutrition or starvation. Plastics also take a very long time to decompose in the cold ocean’s water. Plastic products may breakdown into smaller pieces under the power of ocean waves, but they almost never disappear completely. Can you imagine that one day our beaches could be made up of tiny specks of broken plastic instead of grains of sand? Unfortunately, that future isn’t too far-fetched.

To help bring awareness to marine pollution, the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk has partnered with a flip flop recycling company called Ocean Sole. Ocean Sole collects thousands of flip flops that wash up on the coast of Kenya and works with over 100 individuals in Nairobi to transform them from ugly pollutants to works of art. The flip flops are scrubbed, sanded and carved into animal figures for home ware, accessories and souvenirs. The process not only encourages recycling and cleanup efforts along coastal communities in Kenya, but also provides much needed employment to the people of Nairobi.  It is also a clear example of the human footprint and just how far it reaches. You can find these flip flop creations for sale in the Virginia Zoo Gift Shop. To support this great cause, drop by the gift shop and check out the recycled flip flop goods from Ocean Sole.

And to learn more about pollution in the world’s oceans, check out NOAA’s marine debris program for comprehensive coverage of marine debris issues.

Posted in: Don't litter!, Going Green, Reduce reuse and recycle, Waterways

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Virginia Beach Joins Keep America Beautiful

Posted on March 3, 2014 by | Comments Off

KAB Affiliation Group Picture - VB

Click Photo for full size view
Credit: Virginia Beach City Photograph by Craig D. McClure

Keep America Beautiful (KAB) welcomed Virginia Beach to its expanding nationwide, community-based network of affiliates, Tuesday, February 25, in City Council Chambers. Susan Burkhardt, KAB Affiliate Marketing and Training Senior Director, addressed the Virginia Beach City Council to make the announcement. As part of the KAB network, Virginia Beach will have access to the latest knowledge, resources and strategies used nationwide to improve communities in measurable ways.

To gain affiliation, the City of Virginia Beach and the Virginia Beach Clean Community Commission (VBCCC) attended two trainings with Keep America Beautiful Trainer, John Deuel, who helped to establish the administrative components required for affiliation. In between these training sessions, the group worked diligently throughout the year to accomplish many other requirements for affiliation, including a Focus Area Survey and a Litter Index to assess the overall appearance of the city as well as community procedures and partners for litter prevention, waste reduction, recycling education and beautification and community greening.

Also in attendance Tuesday evening were Keeping Virginia Beach Beautiful Executive Director Linda Minner, Keep Virginia Beautiful Executive Director Mike Baum, Public Works Interim Director Phil Davenport, and Parks and Recreation Director Michael Kalvort. Also recognized at the certificate presentation were VBCCC Chair and Vice-Chair, Dan Baxter and Larry Banks, respectively, and Commissioners Nancy Degges, George Denice, Scott Kellam, Anne Mannarino, and Jennifer Powell.

The VBCCC will serve as the governing body of the Virginia Beach KAB affiliate. “We are proud to be providing our support to this KAB affiliation,” said Dan Baxter, VBCCC Chair. “We look forward to combining their brand recognition and tradition of excellence with our efforts in Keeping Virginia Beach Beautiful.”

Virginia Beach is the 8th askHRgreen partner from Hampton Roads to join the KAB network.  The cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and York County are also affiliates of KAB. This strong network of KAB affiliates in Hampton Roads shows the dedication our region has to preserving the beauty and character of our region for years to come.

The entire askHRgreen team extends their heartfelt congratulations to the City of Virginia Beach and the VBCCC on their KAB affiliation!


Posted in: Beautification, Community events, Don't litter!

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What Does The Fish Say?

Posted on January 9, 2014 by | Comments (1)

If fish could talk, what do you think they would say? I’d bet they’d tell us a thing or two about protecting their waterways. Our good friends in Suffolk decided to contact “Billy Bass” to find out exactly what he thinks about how our behaviors affect his habitat…and what we can do to improve it. Here’s what Billy had to say:


Posted in: Don't litter!, Gardening, Going Green, Keeping storm drains free, Lawn and landscape, Lawncare, Outdoor tips, Waterways

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Hope For Plastic Bags

Posted on December 3, 2013 by | Comments Off

plastic-pollution-1327947-mPlastic bags are everywhere.  And they cause all sorts of environmental issues.  Unfortunately, they’re very hard to avoid.  Sure you can choose a reusable bag over a plastic grocery bag (although I don’t always remember them myself) but what about the plastic used to package bread, paper towels even water bottle cases?  According to the EPA, only 8% of the total plastic waste generated in 2011 was recovered for recycling.  That means the other 92% most likely went into landfills or worse, into wildlife habitats like forests, wetlands and the ocean.

But wait, there’s hope!  Did you know that many plastic bags are easily recycled?  Next time you hit up the grocery store, look for the plastic bag recycling bin.  It’s probably near the front doors.  You’ll see that it’s mostly full of regular plastic grocery bags but you can actually recycle even more in the same bin!  Here are a few items you might not have known about:

  • Polyethylene stretch and shrink wrap
  • Newspaper Sleeves
  • Paper towel/toilet paper over wrap
  • Dry produce bags
  • Dry cleaning bags
  • Case wrap used for soda bottles, water bottles, canned goods
  • Zip lock bags (clean and dry)
  • Bread bags (clean and dry)
  • Ice bags (dry and no metal clips)
  • Bubble wrap

How exciting is that?  Think of all that extra plastic that will NOT be going to the landfill if we all recycle these items as well.  I plan to get a small garbage can at my house just for plastic bag/wrap recyclables!  After all, it’s important to make it easy.  And when all I have to do is bring the plastic bags with me on my next trip to the grocery store, it couldn’t be easier!

What do you think?  Will you join me in my quest to recycle more plastics?  Let’s do this!

Posted in: Don't litter!, plastic bags, Reduce reuse and recycle

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