Posted on



During the month of April, volunteers with Keep Troup Beautiful completed its annual litter survey of the streets and roads of Troup County.As one of more than 600 affiliates of Keep America Beautiful, Keep Troup Beautiful participates in the assessment of litter in our community on an annual basis. For more than six decades, Keep America Beautiful has served as our country’s nonprofit steward of litter prevention. Litter is more than just a blight on our landscape. Litter is costly to clean up, impacts our quality of life and economic development, and eventually ends up in our waterways and oceans. Among the many Keep America Beautiful initiatives, the Litter Index is a step-bystep method of assessing current litter conditions and other indicators whichisusedin thousands of communities and by municipalities nationwide.

Our volunteers cover Troup County. We divide thecountyintofour sectors and in small groups, drive the roads and streets of the entire county. We observe the areas and use a rating system of 1.0 to 4.0. 1.0 is a good (no litter) appearance while 4.0 is extreme and unacceptable. The 2018 results were 2.13. This compares to ratings in 2016 of 1.64 and 2017 of 1.90. 2018 is 12% worse than 2017 and 30% worse than 2016. Of the four quadrants of Troup County, the northwest quadrant actually made improvements from last year, improving from a 1.84 to a 1.64. The other three quadrants were noticeably worse than previous years. There were a total of 150 areas rated. It is interesting to note that there were 18, or 12% of the total areas that were noticeably poor – rated 3.0 or higher; while there were 45, or 30% of the total areas rated noticeably good – 1.5 or lower. While this is positive, the very poor areas all occur on heavily traveled corridors, and a significant part of litter occurs at or near major intersections.

According to Keep America Beautiful, litter cleanup costs the U.S. more than $11.5 billion each year. Businesses pay $9.1 billion of the cleanup costs, or about 80%. States, cities, and counties together expend $1.3 billion on litter abatement. Litter removal is often a hidden cost within employee expenses or other projects which makes it difficult to determine the actual cost to local governments. Educational institutions spend approximately $241 million annually for litter clean up. Similar to local Keep Troup Beautiful, P.O. Box 3413, La-Grange, Georgia 30241, [email protected] ATT.NET, 706884-9922 governments, litter costs are often not included as a budget line item, making it difficult to determine the time spent on cleanup in hallways, cafeterias, and sports facilities.

There are the considerable indirect costs of litter on quality-of-life as well.According to Keep America Beautiful research, 93% of homeowners say a littered neighborhood would decrease their assessment of a home’s value and influences their decision to purchase a property. And 40% estimated that litter would reduce a home’s value by10%to24%.36%of business development officials say that litter impacts a decision to locate to a community. 55% of realtors think that litter reduces property values by about 9%. 60% of property appraisers would reduce a home’s value if it was littered. The presence of litter in a community decreases property values by a little over 7%, according to the National Association of Home Builders pricing model.

We are fortunate here in Troup County to have our local government working to support the anti-litter campaign. But, without our citizens taking individual responsibility to prevent litter, we will continue to see our tax dollars and business expenses continue to rise while also seeing future development seek out cleaner communities. Keep Troup Beautiful encourages individuals and groups to work at litter prevention and cleanup by adopting roadways. Keep Troup Beautiful is a Keep America Beautiful affiliate. Keep Troup Beautiful encourages behavioral changes and individual responsibility through educational activities which result in a cleaner Troup county.

Keep Troup Beautiful was organized in the early 1990’s by a group of LaGrange/Troup County citizens interested in recycling and beautification. Under the leadership of Emily Joseph this group was created as an ad hoc committee to encourage the City of LaGrange to build the Recycling Center located on Davis Road. The committee then initiated efforts to become a certified Keep America Beautiful Affiliate under the name Troup Clean and Beautiful. In 1992 the organization was recognized as a KAB affiliate and Mellody Reaves was elected to serve as the organization’s first Chair.

In 1998, the Board changed the name to Keep Troup Beautiful to conform with the national organization – Keep America Beautiful. Over the past years, KTB has received numerous awards for its litter reduction, recycling, beautification and waste management efforts.

Keep Troup Beautiful is funded by governmental grants and private contributions. Approximately 65% of the organization’s budget is funded by the Cities of LaGrange, West Point and Hogansville and Troup County. Donations from individuals and corporations support the remaining 35% of the budget.