‘Beautiful’ Shoals organization emphasizes recycling

Keep the Shoals Beautiful has been working to inform residents around the Shoals about the importance of recycling with the help of Leadership Coordinator Judy Keenum.

Keep the Shoals Beautiful was established in 2007 by the Chamber of Commerce to bring awareness and promote litter prevention, advocating a clean community. Keenum’s work with Keep the Shoals Beautiful includes coordinating events in schools to educate and bring awareness about the importance of litter prevention to children.

“We get stories all the time about children saying to their parents or grandparents ‘don’t put that newspaper in the trash bin that can be recycled’ so young ones can learn,” Keenum said.

Keep the Shoals Beautiful is great because it helps keep the campus healthy for both the people and animals, said junior Jordan Edgerly.

“On any day we have trash bins and we supply bags for recycling bins for events,” Keenum said.

The organization’s main mission is to empower the Shoals area to take action in protecting and enhancing their environment, according to their website.

Keenum’s efforts have reached UNA’s campus with recycling bins and many cigarette containers around campus.

“The litter prevention part is great,” said senior Reggie Phillips. “They do a good job at making the mainly traveled areas of the Shoals look great.”

Keep the Shoals Beautiful’s focus is to bring about awareness regarding stewardship for litter prevention, Keenum said.

“It damages your economy if the area is not clean,” she said.

Statistically, it has been proven that an area’s value drops if not cleaned, Keenum said.

Litter is similar to going to a store that is junky compared to a store that is clean, Keenum said. You are more likely to go back to the store that is clean than the one that is junky, and that is the same with landmarks. If UNA’s fountain is full of litter, it ruins the beauty, she said.

As an advocate for litter prevention, Keenum gives the example of littering with a simple paper cup. The cup might disintegrate, but a cigarette butt takes up to twenty years before it goes away.

Keenum’s efforts with Keep the Shoals Beautiful include giving away decals for cars and perennials, which are flowers that bloom every year.

Keenum and many other volunteers have participated in the Helen Keller Festival and Handy Festival in June to assist in clean up during the events.

“It’s amazing just to think I can pick up one piece of paper,” Keenum said. “If we can all just pick up one piece it would be pretty easy to keep it clean.”

Along with the trash bins that they offer, they also have “litter getters,” people who wear vests and pick up litter around the Shoals.