By Bonnie Hester
Intern to The Citizen
The nonprofit agency Keep PTC Beautiful has recently taken on a larger role within Peachtree City.
The organization, a chapter of Keep America Beautiful, is dedicated to controlling litter and reducing waste throughout the community. In late April of this year, it began fulfilling a contract with the city to empty and maintain the trash receptacles located along the city’s 98 miles of cart paths.
In addition to servicing the trashcans, KPTCB volunteers pick up litter and clear debris from the paths, including a large amount of illegally dumped yard waste, in order to create a more beautiful and enjoyable environment for PTC residents.
KPTCB director Al Yougel commented that the organization was “very excited” about receiving the contract, “because it brought more of a complete range of responsibilities for us, as opposed to just getting frustrated over litter.”
KPTCB volunteers empty every trash can at least once a week, and some of the most heavily-used cans twice a week. They also replace damaged or defaced cans and respond to suggestions from the community on locations for new cans.
According to Yougel, these volunteers are primarily composed of people performing court-mandated, community service hours, meaning that the organization always has a “readily available pool of free labor to the tune of approximately 18,000 hours a year.”
For the city, the great advantage of this arrangement lies in KPTCB’s reliance on volunteers, which will save the city approximately $100,000 in labor costs over the course of the contract.
In addition to their work on the cart paths, KPTCB volunteers pick up litter on streets and highways, assist other departments when requested and operate two drop-off recycling centers in PTC, one on Rockaway Road and one outside the public works building, as well as placing and emptying recycle bins all around the county.
Yougel described his excitement at the growing rate of recycling in PTC.
“When we started in 2009, the city of Peachtree City recycled about 1.5 percent of its total trash,” he said. “We’re now over 23 percent, so we’ve come up quite a bit … it’s very good.”
Yougel added that the year 2013 marked the first time that the two drop-off stations processed over one million pounds of recyclable material in one year.
The number of recycling bins in PTC has increased dramatically since KPTCB began operations. For example, Yougel stated that in 2009, there were no bins in any of the athletic facilities in the city. Now, thanks to KPTCB’s efforts, there are 125. There are also bins at five city schools and in every government office in PTC, Yougel said.
Yougel is hopeful that numbers will continue to grow as more and more residents start to recycle.