Keep Norfolk Beautiful

Author: Kevin Du Bois, Kevin Du Bois, Recycling Coordinator, City of Norfolk

Keep Norfolk Beautiful (KNB) received the 2015 President Circle Award recognition at Keep America Beautiful’s (KAB) recent National Conference in Florida. The President’s Circle Award recognizes exemplary performance made by certified affiliates in creating clean, green and beautiful communities. In qualifying for a President’s Circle Award, Keep Norfolk Beautiful met KAB’s standards of merit by conducting an annual Community Appearance Index, calculating the affiliate’s cost/benefit ratio, and administering activities in the areas of litter prevention, recycling and waste reduction, and beautification and community greening.

Not only did KNB meet the President’s Circle Award criteria, but it was judged to be best in the nation within its population category for creating a more beautiful, cleaner, and improved environment through new technologies, improved waste handling, and public space stewardship.

A few of the recycling highlights that contributed to KNB’s award-winning recognition include:

  • KNB collaborated with EnviroPerks to improve household recycling efforts, reduce waste, and promote local businesses by offering great savings and exclusive deals that reward recyclers. In FY15, EnviroPerks added 1,856 new “Perksters” to the program (up 25%) for a total of 9,386, collectively they earned 296,420 points and redeemed them at participating businesses for a value of $46,162,
  • KNB supported the City’s Curbside Recycling program, resulting in an average curbside recycling rate of 62% (up 5% since FY13) and 76.3% who put out their recycling at least once per month.
  • Norfolk diverted 10,884 curbside tons of material and 455 drop-off tons of recyclables and converted the remaining 61,460 tons of waste to energy,
  • KNB organized two annual “Recycle Norfolk Days” in partnership with the Division of Waste Management. The program supported Goodwill (clothes) and the Up Center (books), diverting 48,468 pounds of material from the waste stream,
  • In FY14, the Norfolk Environmental Commission’s Plastic Bag Task Force and KNB worked with five elementary schools and engaged 2,514 students to collect and recycle 1,628 lbs. of plastic bags (~130,240 bags) through the Trex Challenge program! In FY15, the rate of school participation more than tripled to 17 schools. Making the connection between plastic bags as a common source of marine debris and its effect on the health and survivorship of marine wildlife, the schools engaged nearly 6,000 students and collected over 280,000 bags (over 3,500 pounds),
  • KNB works cooperatively with Norfolk’s Division of Waste Management to collect and store oyster shells to be used for oyster restoration. In FY15, KNB facilitated the collection of 110 bushels of oyster shell that was diverted from the waste stream and donated to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for their use in regional oyster restoration projects.
  • “Working with our partners in the Waste and Storm Water Management Divisions of Public Works, with the Norfolk Environmental Commission, and the Friends of Norfolk’s Environment, we have able to do great things” said Kevin Du Bois, Recycling Coordinator for the City of Norfolk. “These awards from KAB recognize those outstanding collective efforts and Norfolk’s prominence as an amazing urban waterfront community”
  • Keep America Beautiful’s National Conference, its premier educational and networking event, brought together more than 350 leaders from Keep America Beautiful’s national network of more than 600 state and community-based affiliates, business leaders, policymakers and other experts who shared innovative ideas and proven strategies to help end littering, improve recycling, and beautify America’s communities.