America Recycles Day


Earlier this week we celebrated America Recycles Day (ARD), a national Keep America Beautiful initiative that seeks to raise awareness about recycling each November. Started in 1997, America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day promoting and celebrating recycling in the U.S. According to the EPA, the average individual produces 4.4 pounds of waste PER DAY [1]It is estimated that 75% of this waste is recyclable, however only 30% is currently being recycled [2]. Clearly, we have room to REDUCE our waste stream, REUSE materials we purchase, and increase the amount of materials we RECYCLE.

This year, the theme of America Recycles Day is “Bathroom, Bags & Gadgets.” In efforts to increase the national recycling rate (34.3%), ARD efforts this year are focusing on recycling common products that are often forgotten about – like shampoo containers, plastic bags, and personal electronic devices like phones and tablets. Now, it should be noted- not all of these items can go into your single stream curbside recycling bin that you have at home, school and work. Check out this Recycling Locator to identify where you can take some of those items you are not sure what to do with- such as plastic bags and other film plastics, electronic devices, and clothing. For more information about what you can put in your curbside recycling bins, here is a helpful guide put together by Durham County’s Solid Waste Management department

Why Reduce, Reuse and Recycle?

  • To conserve natural resources. Did you know that recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees [3] and recycling one ton of plastic can save up to 2,000 gallons of gasoline? [4]
  • To save energy. Did you know that recycling aluminium requires 95% less energy that making it from scratch? The energy savings are  70% for plastics and 40% for paper. [5]
  • To save landfill space. Did you know that more than 28 billion glass bottles and jars end up in the landfill every year? That’s the equivalent of filling up two Empire State Buildings every three weeks. [6]
  • To create jobs. Did you know that for every job created by burning or burying waste, 25 recycling-based manufacturing jobs can be created from the same amount of waste? [7]
  • To reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Did you know that if the U.S. can raise its 34.5% recycling rate to 75%, it will be the CO2 equivalent of removing 50 million cars from the road? [6]

How you can get involved:

How do you Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle at your home, school, work, or organization? Let us know about your efforts to reduce waste and keep Durham clean and green. 


  1. Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts and Figures 2013; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  2. 11 Facts About Recycling, 
  3. Recycling Fun Facts, The University of Michigan, Plant Operations
  4. Recycling Facts, MRC Polymers
  5. The price of virtue:How to get people recycling more – even if they do not particularly want toThe Economist June 7, 2007.
  6. Recycling Facts, Recycle Across America, 
  7. Recycling Works Fast Facts, Recycling Works 

Volunteers Needed for Historic Geer Cemetery Cleanup on Saturday October 17th

Keep Durham Beautiful teams with Friends of Geer Cemetery to lead volunteers in beautification project

What: Volunteer Cleanup at Historic Geer Cemetery – Volunteers will collect litter and tree debris, remove vines, and protect the grave markers.

When: Saturday, October 17, 2015 from 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Where: 800 Colonial Avenue, Durham, NC

Why: Geer Cemetery is a four-acre wooded Cemetery in East Durham and the resting place of many of the earliest generations of African Americans in Durham. No group claims ownership of the historic Durham cemetery which remains largely unmaintained and will benefit from the care that these volunteers will provide. Friends of Geer Cemetery formed in order to reveal its significant history and help advocate for this beautiful, rustic and historic public space in Durham. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th constitutional amendment abolishing slavery and an observance is planned later in the year at Geer Cemetery.

Who: The general public is invited to join Keep Durham Beautiful, Friends of Geer Cemetery, City of Durham General Services, and University of Tennessee-Knoxville student volunteers to help beautify the cemetery. Gloves, tools and water will be provided by Keep Durham Beautiful. The City of Durham Department of General Services will assist with debris removal.

Fast Facts:

  • Ron Bartholomew and Wayne Tabron of Durham Marble Works will present a short workshop at the cemetery on resetting and cleaning grave marker stones from 12:30-1:00 pm before the cleanup.
  • The Friends of Geer Cemetery plans to observe the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th constitutional amendment abolishing slavery on December 4, 5 and 6 with the following events in Durham:
    • December 4: Wreath-laying ceremony at Geer Cemetery
    • December 5: Libation ceremony at Stagville State Historic Site
    • December 6: Honorable Judge Allyson K. Duncan, U.S. Circuit Court Judge 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals will be the Keynote Speaker at the Friends of Geer Cemetery commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution at White Rock Baptist Church.
  • Friends of Geer Cemetery is a volunteer group meeting monthly to advocate for Geer Cemetery. Its mission is to honor those who lie at rest in the Cemetery, and to preserve Geer Cemetery for posterity.
  • For more information about Saturday’s cleanup or other volunteer projects contact Keep Durham Beautiful at (919) 672-6682 or

About Keep Durham Beautiful Keep Durham Beautiful is a nonprofit, volunteer organization working in partnership with the City of Durham General Services Department and Durham County to encourage residents, businesses, and community organizations to protect the environment and enhance the appearance of Durham through cleanup events, beautification projects, waste reduction, and educational activities. To learn more, visit the website, like on Facebook, and follow on Instagram, flickr, and Twitter.

Durham Encourages Residents to Help Prevent Cankerworm Tree Damage


Trees Across Durham Offering Free Workshops and Tree-Banding Materials

Share! #Durham offers free workshops & tree-banding materials to help prevent cankerworm damage

DURHAM, N.C. – Residents interesting in preventing the damaging effects of cankerworms on Durham’s trees should volunteer now to take action to protect their own trees and others in the community.

Trees Across Durham, a broad-based partnership dedicated to making Durham a healthier and greener community by planting and protecting trees, is offering free workshops and free tree-banding materials as part of the new “Band Together” Campaign to help residents tackle cankerworms, which have reached outbreak levels in Durham over the last few years.

According to Urban Forestry Manager Alex Johnson with the City of Durham General Services Department, cankerworms are more than just a nuisance. “Cankerworms deplete a tree’s ability to respond to stress by stripping them of their early spring leaves, which forces them to re-grow their canopies from stored reserves before they can begin to generate the nutrients they need to grow and defend themselves,” Johnson said. “Cankerworms are also a nuisance, descending from tree canopies onto cars, houses, lawns, sidewalks, and people. They are indiscriminate feeders upon all plants while they make their way from their hatching sites in the trees to the ground where they pupate.” 

One of the most effective ways to reduce cankerworm populations and save trees is through tree banding. The banding process includes wrapping trees with a sticky barrier, which blocks the flightless female moths from crawling to the tops of trees and laying eggs. This successful technique stops the cankerworms from reproducing which reduces their populations and their damaging effects when a majority of trees in an area are properly banded.

Workshops planned in the coming weeks will teach residents how to properly band their own trees, and volunteer days are set to target several neighborhoods for tree band installations. Residents are encouraged to register for the workshops and volunteer banding days to get updates on locations or rescheduling.


Volunteer Banding Days:         

  • Thursday, October 15, 2 p.m. – Walltown, meet at the intersection of Green and Berkeley streets
  • Thursday, December 3, 1 p.m. – Old North Durham, meet at Bay-Hargrove Park, 208 Hargrove St.
  • Tuesday, December 8, 1 p.m. – Walltown, meet at the intersection of Green and Berkeley streets

Residents who plan to install tree bands on their own trees should do so by Halloween, and then apply the special glue by the first hard freeze (usually around Thanksgiving). Bands should be removed by May 1 to prevent rot during the hot, humid months.For the second year in a row, the Durham County Main Library, located at 300 N. Roxboro St., will have free tree-banding kits available for checkout by October 16 until the end of December. Kits include materials and tools to band approximately two medium-sized trees. Durham County received the National Association of Counties Achievement Award for offering this innovative banding kit check-out program last year.The “Band Together” Campaign is a partnership between Trees Across Durham, City of Durham, Durham County, Keep Durham Beautiful, and other community organizations to encourage residents to take steps now to reduce cankerworms. For more information about cankerworms, including a video which explains how to band a tree, as well as workshops and volunteer days, visit Trees Across Durham, email, or call (919) 560-7993.  

Durham Hosts E-Waste Recycling & Paper Shredding Event

Free and Convenient Event Open to All Durham Residents and Businesses

DURHAM, N.C. – Durham residents and businesses looking for an easy and free way to recycle electronic waste and shred confidential documents should attend the City of Durham’s E-Waste Recycling & Paper Shredding Event next month.

The event will be on Saturday, October 10, 2015, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the visitor side of the Durham County Memorial Stadium, located at 750 Stadium Dr. Event staff will be on hand to unload old electronics and paper. Hard plastic toys as well as plastic and metal lawn furniture may also be dropped off for recycling.

The event, sponsored by the City of Durham Solid Waste Management Department, Sonoco Recycling, Shimar Recycling, Synergy Recycling, and Durham County Government, will accept nearly all electronic devices with a cord, including:

  • Computers, laptops, keyboards, mice, printers, monitors, speakers, copiers, scanners, circuit boards, hard drives, computer parts, etc.
  • Televisions, stereo equipment, tape players, receivers, amplifiers, record players, etc.
  • Kitchen electronics, such as microwaves, mixers, blenders, choppers, etc.
  • Telephones, cell phones, and fax machines
  • Hair dryers, curling irons, alarm clocks, and vacuum cleaners
  • Power tools, cordless tools, etc.
  • Electronic toys, such as keyboards and video game systems
  • This event will not accept large appliances, refrigerators, air conditioners, or any other appliances that contain Freon. Confidential paper shredding will also be provided on site. Requirements for shredding include:
  • Paper may contain paper clips and staples; however, hanging file folders will not be accepted. 
  • Only paper should be brought for shredding. CDs, DVDs, and other non-paper items will not be accepted. 
  • All paper should be loose and not in binders or other binding items made of non-paper.
  • Residents may be present to observe their confidential document shredding if the amount to be shredded can fit into one 96-gallon roll cart (approximately 240 pounds of material or approximately eight small, banker boxes of material).
  • Participants with larger quantities will have items placed in boxes to be shredded off-site at Shimar Recycling’s secure facility. 

Residents who can’t make this event can still safely and conveniently recycle their old electronics at the City’s Waste Disposal and Recycling Center, located at 2115 E. Club Blvd. The facility is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to noon. For information about items accepted at this event or the City’s recycling facilities, contact Durham One Call at (919) 560-1200 or visit the City’s Solid Waste Management Department Web page

Growing Durham’s Future: Eastway Elementary Orchard Project

Angier Avenue Neighborhood Workday CrossFit Group

Volunteers from CrossFit Durham and Bull City Crossfit lend their strength and perseverance at the Keep Durham Beautiful gardening workday at Angier Avenue Neighborhood Farm on Saturday, August 29. These CrossFit volunteers worked alongside community members clearing and mulching the blueberry patch and preparing a perennial bed at this unique ½ acre urban farm located in NE Central Durham. Angier Avenue Neighborhood Farm, the Eastway Elementary Orchard, and a new community garden space on Taylor Street coming this Fall, are all efforts to increase access to local, fresh food in this area of Durham.

With school back in full swing, parents across the city are busy packing lunches. The newest “hot item” for your child’s lunchbox: the paw paw. Haven’t heard of a paw paw? This native fruit looks like a green mango and tastes like a cross between a mango, cantaloupe, and banana.

You are unlikely to find paw paws in the produce aisle of your favorite grocery store. But luckily for all the parents packing lunches in the Bull City, if you keep a close eye out, you can find paw paw trees scattered throughout Durham. Come September, Northeast Central Durham will welcome Paw Paws, along with other native fruit trees, to the Eastway Elementary Orchard.

Eastway Elementary School, home of the Eastway Eagles, is committed to “Growing Durham’s Future.” This elementary school is working hard to grow Durham’s future, both literarily and figuratively, and will be planting an orchard with Keep Durham Beautiful as part of the Green Apple Day of Service on September 26, 2015.

The Green Apple Day of Service, through the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGCB), is an opportunity to transform schools into healthy, safe, and productive learning environments through local service projects. This year, Keep Durham Beautiful, the USGCB NC, and Building Managers and Managers Association (BOMA) Raleigh-Durham have partnered together to plant an orchard at the entranceway of Eastway Elementary School.

The project will convert the grassy area in front of the school into an orchard with native fruit trees and fruiting shrubs, perennial flowers, benches, and educational signs. The Eastway Orchard project provides opportunities for beautification, education, health, and community building in Northeast Central Durham, which is a target area for the Mayor’s Poverty Reduction Initiative. This area is characterized as a “food desert,” meaning there is a lack of access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Planting an orchard on the school grounds will provide the Eastway community increased food access, a dynamic outdoor learning environment, and a chance for children to connect to where food comes from.

Education & Advocacy Manager Sarah Montgomery at USGBC NC looks forward to a large group of volunteers from the school and surrounding community to participate in planting the edible school orchard for the students and families at Eastway. “There is nothing more exciting to me than to see students, teachers, administrators, and parents come together with their community members and work collaboratively on a project to improve their local school. Eastway Elementary’s Orchard project is an opportunity to showcase the community-based, community-driven, transformative work happening all across Durham,” Montgomery said.

To learn more about Green Schools at USGBC NC, visit the website:

**Update 10/2**

Due to the weather, the Green Apple Day of Service Orchard Planting Workday has been rescheduled for Monday, October 12, 2015. Please check back or email for the latest information. 

Green Apple Day of Service | Monday, October 12, 2015

Eastway Elementary School, 610 N. Alston Ave., Durham, N.C. 27701

12-4pm (tentative time, please email for updates)

Join us as we plant a small orchard at the entrance of Eastway Elementary! For more information and to register, email


It’s All About the Energy

The following post was written by our guest blogger, Veronica Kim. Veronica is an upcoming senior at Durham Academy writing about her experiences as a volunteer with Keep Durham Beautiful throughout the summer. 

Annabella Gong, a senior at Durham Academy and leader of the school's Go Green Club

Annabella Gong, a senior at Durham Academy and leader of the school’s Go Green Club

Every Monday morning at Durham Academy, students have the opportunity to make announcements to their peers, whether it be about clubs, sports teams, or anything in between. This year, Annabella Gong, a spirited senior with short hair and a huge voice, took the podium. Gong, leader of the Go Green Club at DA, began the announcement that would eventually become a running joke among the student body: “Please recycle your water bottles, but first, please take your caps off the bottles! The caps are non-recyclable and need to be thrown in the trash.”

After that first announcement, it was gradually shortened to the following scene: Gong sprinting her way down the auditorium aisle to be the first at the podium, a ripple of laughter through the students and teachers as she grinned knowingly at them, and a quick Remember to take your caps off your water bottles before you recycle them! Thanks guys before going to sit back down.

This little episode, although now outdated – since companies have begun to recycle water bottles with caps still intact – is just one example of Gong’s dedication to environmental conservation at DA.

Gong not only started this weekly tradition-of-sorts but fiercely upheld her passions for recycling elsewhere. Every Wednesday, a different DA advisory completes recycling, where the students collect the waste from each recycling bin on campus and consolidate it into three massive containers. It is a messy, unforgiving job that involves many soggy papers, half-empty soda cans, and, of course, the constant need to unscrew the caps from water bottles that have been discarded without regard for proper recycling protocol. However, every Wednesday without fail, Gong and her fellow Go Green Club leaders could be found working tirelessly alongside the advisory members, unscrewing lids, dumping out excess liquids, smiles on their faces.

When Gong was asked about what drove this indefatigable love for the environment, she responded: “I’ve always cared for the environment. I come from a family that is very environmentally conscious… my dad owns a garden, we compost… it’s just a personal interest of mine.” Environmental protection is a topic that has recently been brought to the forefront of public awareness through Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change. Gong shares her views as well; for her, it is not a very two-sided debate. “Sustainability is the one issue that holds no ambiguities… either you protect Mother Nature, or you unnecessarily suffocate your future,” she says.

In fact, Gong went beyond the recycling norm, expanding the Go Green Club at DA to include a new program called TerraCycle®. TerraCycle® is a nationwide initiative that collects hard-to-recycle materials, such as granola bar wrappers, chip bags, shoes, and plastic cups, and upcycles them to create an array of products (including backpacks, park benches, fences, etc). At the beginning of second semester, the Go Green Club gave a presentation on TerraCycle®, and Gong announced that a plethora of small boxes would be scattered around the campus so that students could easily and conveniently TerraCycle® their waste. Since the TerraCycle® program consists of many different categories (after all, sneakers cannot be easily upcycled alongside toothbrushes), DA would primarily be TerraCycling® granola bar wrappers and chip bags, two things that abound on a high school campus.

The TerraCycle® program exploded (for lack of a better term) at DA. Gong puts it this way: “We were just giving it a shot… at first people were like, ‘Oh, this is pretty cool,’ but then we really started to accumulate a ton of waste. By the end of five months we had over a thousand wrappers.” Not only were students actively involved in the TerraCycle® program, they were helpful and friendly towards members of the Go Green Club who were making it happen. “People… would always be happy and encouraging when they saw me,” recalls Gong.

Gong was honored at DA’s Magnificent Seven assembly in April, which celebrates seven outstanding individuals who have made a lasting impression on the DA community. She won the award for “caring for the environment and property” almost unanimously. When the Upper School director stood up to present the award, nearly everybody in the audience had already guessed its recipient.

Perhaps the reason that the Go Green Club flourished this year was due to Gong’s incredible, authentic love for the practices that she preached. “I’m a loud person, and I get really excited about things easily, and infusing that energy into Go Green Club helped elevate it to a more active, known component of campus life,” she says.

When asked about how other schools can work to implement more effective recycling programs, Gong said, “People are open to recycling, they just might hesitate in participating in these initiatives because they don’t entirely understand their value and purpose. It’s important to help them understand why you should recycle, and from there, people will do it.” She stresses that a successful recycling program cannot survive under the guidance of just a few people: “There’s more of an impact [in] having the entire school involved.”

But what is the most important part about leading such a prosperous recycling initiative? “You need someone who is very vocal… who is not afraid to embarrass themselves over something that he or she is very passionate about. I was just really passionate about recycling; people noticed, and then they got jazzed up to participate as well,” explains Gong. “Keep it fun and enjoyable… that is the most effective way to get the message across.”

Her closing statement, though, was a lot more personal. She acknowledged the recognition she received for her leadership in Go Green Club, but also admitted that it was unusual. “I’m very blessed to have been recognized,” she said. “Personal recognition helps encourage me to continue doing what I’m doing, but as long as the environment is making progress and people enjoy doing it, I am very happy.”

To learn more about the TerraCycle® program, visit:

The Litter Index is Step One

We are excited to introduce our guest blogger, Veronica Kim. Veronica is an upcoming senior at Durham Academy who will be writing about her experiences as a volunteer with Keep Durham Beautiful throughout the summer. 

Litter Index 2015

Keep Durham Beautiful volunteers helped assess roadside litter levels and community appearance measures for the 11th annual Durham Litter Index on June 11, 2015.

It’s surprising, really, the amount of trash that you can see on the side of the road, if only you’re looking carefully enough.

And the participants of the 11th annual Keep Durham Beautiful Litter Index were certainly looking very carefully. On June 11, over twenty volunteers set off for five different corners of Durham, armed with clipboards and charts and the occasional bagel. I was skeptical. I had just learned the litter assessment scale (ranging from one to four, with one meaning “no litter” and four meaning “extremely littered”) and was more than a little nervous that my litter assessment abilities would not be up to par.

Not to worry. The Litter Index volunteers are experienced, passionate members of the community, coming out each year to sweep the Durham streets in their trusty white vans (donated for our use by University Ford). It is a demanding job, with seventy-five zones that need to be inspected. Yet even at 8:30 in the morning, they are ready to go, coffee in hand and pencil at the ready.

In my van, there are shouts of “I just saw five junked cars on the side of the road!” and “Please drive slower, I need to make sure I catch every piece of litter that I can.” I am awed by the amounts of waste that dot the sides of the roads and the treeline – I’ve never noticed it before.

In a state where we throw away nearly twelve billion tons of trash every year, the Litter Index needs to spot every aluminum can, every paper cup, every hamburger wrapper. At first glance, it does not seem like a grueling job. I told my friends, We drove around and assessed the trash on the sides of the roads, and they said, Wait, you didn’t even clean it up? You just looked at it? But without the Litter Index, there would be no litter cleanup. It clears the way for more organized cleanup opportunities, and focuses this effort in areas that have been rated higher on the scale. The places that receive a score of one will not require much organized effort. On the other hand, “four” areas can require a large-scale effort and even machine equipment to remove litter, which takes a lot of advance planning to achieve.

This is how the Litter Index helps. It is not just a bunch of people with nothing better to do on a Thursday, driving around and pointing out all of the straw wrappers that they see in the grass. It opens the doors to a much larger process. It is a program run by Keep Durham Beautiful, and it provides the first step to doing just that.

Here is a statistic I read the other day: North Carolinians throw away enough trash every year to circle the planet twice. That is more than fifty thousand miles worth of waste.

It makes you think. On a grass-lined road, I marked down my first “one” of the day. In this zone, I saw a single Styrofoam cup, and I wished I could reach out and pluck it from the ground. The sun blinked and yawned, not yet fully awake.

This world, and our small corner of it, will continue to spin, regardless of how many popsicle sticks we throw out our car windows. But we will not always be able to recognize the beauty of a summer morning, when the birds usher in the dawn, when the sky seems to melt into puddles on your shoulders. Unless we realize – this Earth, this planet, this is our little miracle. We would do well to protect it.  

We would like to thank University Ford for their generous donation of the vans used for the Litter Index and Republic Services for providing lunch for Keep Durham Beautiful volunteers. 

Want to learn more about the Litter Index? Find more information and volunteer registration for the 2016 Keep Durham Beautiful Litter and Community Appearance Index here

To see more pictures from the 2015 Litter Index, please visit our Flickr page.

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Rising litter Levels Threaten Durham’s Progress

Litter Index

Keep Durham Beautiful volunteers Butch Fisher, Rhonda Spivey, Michael Crutchfield, Rhonda Crutchfield and David Harris prepare to conduct the 2013 Community Appearance and Litter Index in a van provided by University Ford.

You may not have noticed, but Durham has a fair amount of litter. Our streets, schools, parks, and neighborhoods are filled with trash from cigarette butts to bottles, cans, plastic bags, and even items like car tires and shoes.

“First impressions are the lasting impressions,” said David Harris, a former Keep Durham Beautiful Board Member and long-time volunteer with the Durham Community Litter Index. “The appearance of the gateways into our city is what visitors see and develop first opinions about Durham.”
As Durhamites, we have a lot of pride. There is exciting energy here in the Bull City. Durham is teeming with talented local artists, authors, and the city is a nationally recognized foodie destination. But the phrase, “Keep it Dirty, Durham,” is not intended to be taken literally.
Litter hurts. Litter costs approximately $15 million in taxpayer dollars to clean up each year. Litter reduces tourism, hampers economic development, and encourages vandalism and crime. Litter contaminates our drinking water and is detrimental for plants and wildlife. Litter even causes accidents, with thousands of automobile accidents each year in the U.S. classified as litter-related.

So, what do we do about it?
On June 11th, Keep Durham Beautiful will be spearheading the 11th annual Litter Index and is looking for community members to get involved. Keep Durham Beautiful is a non-profit affiliate of Keep America Beautiful that works in collaboration with the City of Durham and Durham County to engage and inspire individuals to take greater responsibility for their community environment. Keep Durham Beautiful, with the help of dedicated volunteers, has collected data annually on litter levels in the city since 2005.

What is the Litter Index?
Developed by Keep America Beautiful, the Litter Index is a quantitative measure used across the nation to gauge roadside litter levels. Routes throughout the city are scored on a scale from one to four, with a score of one indicating “no litter” and a score of four indicating the area is “extremely littered.” The index is used to determine the effectiveness of litter campaigns and identify litter “hot spots” in the community for future clean ups.
Teams of volunteers receive training before driving along pre-determined routes to monitor the amount of litter along the roads. “Each route includes business/commercial districts and residential communities and consists of urban, suburban, rural and county roads,” said David Harris, who has participated in the Litter Index for the past 10 years, taking on various roles as an evaluator, driver, coordinator, trainer, co-chair, and chair.

Results from the 2014 index indicate that roadside litter has increased in Durham. The average score across all the routes in 2014 was 1.804, up from a score of 1.35 in 2013. These results suggest the need to take action now. Litter is an individual behavior and each of us can do our part to make a difference. From joining a neighborhood cleanup, adopting a street or bus stop, or by modeling good behavior in your home, school, work or neighborhood YOU have the ability to reduce litter and increase litter literacy in this city we love.

If you are interested in joining this year’s Litter Index efforts, please contact or register here. The Litter Index will take place on Thursday, June 11th from 8:30 am – 1 pm at the Forest Hills Neighborhood Clubhouse. Coffee, bagels, and gratitude will be provided for all volunteers.


Durham Joins National Water Conservation Challenge

Residents Encouraged to Take the Pledge During April

DURHAM, N.C. — During the month of April, you can save water, save money, earn prizes and help Durham win the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation.

Mayor William V. “Bill” Bell and the City’s Water Management Department are encouraging residents to visit to sign up for the Wyland Foundation’s Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation.

The challenge, in its fourth year, is a competition between cities across the United States to see who can be the most water-wise. Mayors and civic leaders are challenging their residents to conserve water, energy and other natural resources on behalf of their city. Last year, Durham finished in fifth place, and Mayor Bell hopes to beat that ranking this year. “As Durham continues to grow, our water resources will be stretched to meet increases in demand,” Bell said. “By participating in the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation, residents can pledge to make Durham a more sustainable community both now and in the future.”

Cities with the highest percentage of participants are entered for a chance to win hundreds of environmentally friendly prizes, including a Toyota Prius Plug-In, water-saving fixtures and gift certificates. Residents can also visit for more information and ideas for saving water.

Connect with the Creek Festival – Saturday March 21 2-5pm

Creek Week kickoff event featuring loads of info on local water resources and groups, parade with Bulltown Strutters and Northeast Creek Streamwatch costumes and puppets, creek art from local schools, painted rain cisterns for auction, a scavenger hunt, Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association painted creek, Frog Hollow Outdoors class raffle, and Pie Pushers and Dusty Donuts food trucks! Durham Central Park at 501 Foster Street in Durham, NC.

To see all Creek Week Events, visit

To join the event on Facebook, visit