Non-profit Spotlight: Keep Polk County Beautiful
Keep Polk County Beautiful, Inc. (KPCB), a 501/(c)3 non-profit organization and a certified affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, works in partnership with Polk County Government, volunteers, and many sponsors to make Polk County an aesthetically pleasing and ecologically sound place to live by empowering individuals to take greater responsibility for enhancing their community environment.
This non-profit organization works with civic, business, government, educational and community groups across the county to improve the value of our communities through various educational presentations and projects involving litter control and prevention, beautification, waste reduction, recycling and proper handling and disposal of solid waste.
This year, KPCB celebrates their 20 years of service here in Polk County. Katie Yoxall, executive director, has been with the organization for more than 11 years. Her scope of concern covers all of unincorporated Polk County and some cities. Lakeland and Winter Haven have their own staff employed by their local Keep America Beautiful affiliates to accomplish similar tasks.
“I love what I do,” Yoxall says. “At the end of the day, I look around and can honestly see the difference that we make here. Thanks to our wonderful volunteers, our volunteer board of directors and sponsors, we are really able to make a difference in Polk County.”
Thanks to the support from Polk County Board of County Commissioners and local sponsors, KPCB has been able to continue and grow their cleanup and beautification efforts throughout Polk County. It is through the generosity of the county’s local waste hauler, Republic Services, that KPCB can offer tire recycling and cleanup assistance to those in need.
More than 10,000 volunteers annually are coordinated with the support of sponsors to make established programs become a reality and continue, such as Adopt -A- Road, America Recycles Day, Beautification Programs, Clean It Up to Green It Up, Community Clean-ups, Community Gardens, Illegal Dumpsite Clean-up, Great American Clean-up, International Coastal Clean-up, Litter Enforcement, Litter Index Survey, Litter Trooper.
Other endeavors include speaking engagements, display events, educational opportunities, tire recycling, and a new pilot program – Project Tire – aimed at reducing the Zika Virus here in Polk by removing tires from residents, vacant properties, ditches, and rights-of-way.
In the past several years, Yoxall was tasked with helping the residents of Polk find a solution to their code violations as well as bridge a gap in what is collected curbside. From that task, a new and effective cleanup program was created called Clean It Up to Green It Up. This program consists of a large scale trash pick-up throughout select communities on a specific cleanup date. This program provides curbside disposal of items that are NOT generally collected with their residential garbage such as remodeling & household construction debris (shingles, drywall, wood, fencing, cabinets, etc.) In addition to the curbside cleanup, a free-to-the-public tire recycling collection event is provided within the target community. Last year’s program collected 472.56 total tons, equaling 945,120 lbs. of garbage and 7,411 tires.
KPCB relies on sponsorships, grants, government support and fundraising activities to fund these and other unduplicated services here in Polk County.
To find out more information on how you can help Keep Polk County Beautiful or to report a dumpsite or pile of tires, contact: Keep Polk County Beautiful at 863-875-8911 or visit KeepPolkCountyBeautiful.org.