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Spring cleaning past front door

Did you know April is Keep America Beautiful month?

Like many of you, I’ve been trying to buckle down to a little spring cleaning around my home, scrubbing appliances, vacuuming up cobwebs, bringing a breath of fresh air to my home life.

It’s easy to let spring cleaning stop at the front door – but maybe that’s a premature spot to wrap up our cleaning routines.

As the earth turns green, with flowers blooming, trees budding and weeds flourishing throughout our landscaping – or maybe that’s just at my house – Keep America Beautiful Month comes around to help us remember the importance of a little TLC for our outdoor surroundings.

First established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful “inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment,” according to the KAB website. “We envision a country in which every community is a clean, green, and beautiful place to live.”

Can you envision the same for Franklin County?

It’s easy to shrug off personal responsibility when it comes to topic like this, downtrodden by the realization that as one person, you can’t change the whole world.

But we can change our little corner of it, can’t we? We can improve and beautify Franklin County, making sure it is a clean, green and beautiful place to live.

It takes each one of us doing our part to reduce waste, prevent litter and make better choices to keep our planet – or at least our portion of the planet – healthy.

KAB has a few quick tips we can, and should, easily translate to Franklin County:

1. Take steps to reduce, reuse, and recycle during spring cleaning! You might be surprised to find that many of the items you could have sworn were destined for the garbage or giveaway tables can actually enjoy a useful second life.

2. Learn about the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program and see how KAB is helping to reduce cigarette litter – the No. 1 form of litter – by an average of more than 50 percent in the communities in which the program has been implemented.

3. As the coronavirus pandemic continues, remember to place used gloves, wipes and masks in the trash after using them. Personal protective equipment is increasingly becoming a litter problem posing a threat to the environment and to those who pick them up. These items should be properly disposed of in the trash, not on the ground.

4. Teach children the importance of preventing litter. Adopt-a-Highway, street or park programs are an excellent way to educate and beautify at the same time.

5. Make a special effort on Earth Day, April 22.

The fact is, we all know a place that needs a little extra attention. You can probably picture right now a roadside ditch near you that is crippled by litter; a pernicious office habit that contributes to waste; or an opportunity for reusing or recycling in your home that you have failed to take advantage of.

It’s not too late to make a change in our lives that will benefit the Earth for the better – after all, it’s the only Earth we’ve got, and we’re the only ones we can count on to take care of it.

This April is a great time to make it happen.