Keep Opelika Beautiful has three focus areas. We did not create this checklist, but borrowed it from Keep America Beautiful.

There are many wonderful opportunities and ideas that KOB can participate in, but by creating focus areas or guidelines helps me stay focused on our mission.

The focus areas are beautification, litter prevention and recycling. When I speak to any civic group, Girl Scout troop or classroom, I explain how important each of these pieces are to create a beautiful puzzle.

Our role in beautification for the city of Opelika is acknowledging clean businesses and giving away the Yard of the Quarter award to homeowners. We have also beautified the city by planting trees and shrubs on Frederick Road, landscaping a vacant lot on West Point Parkway and assisting the schools with their greenspaces.

Our second focus area, preventing litter, is not as glamorous. Keep Opelika Beautiful attacks litter in two ways.

First, the best way to prevent litter is to educate people on the effects of litter. Our relationship with Opelika City Schools provides us with a focused audience. We show students pictures of litter in waterways, create diagrams to show the path of paper in a parking lot, ask students to identify types of litter and more.

Keep America Beautiful has published numerous studies that reveal that people are more likely to litter when litter is present in an area. With this in mind, we spend a lot of time scheduling roadside cleanups and litter-free events.

We have 29 Adopt-A-Mile groups that clean their designated mile throughout the year.

Our third focus area is recycling. Keep Opelika Beautiful works to increase recycling efforts in homes, schools and businesses in Opelika.

While we do not physically collect the commodities from various locations, our concentration is educating residents, young and old, on the importance of not tossing everything into the landfill.

Prior to curbside recycling, throwing away all rubbish was the easiest approach. Opelika Environmental Services (OES) offers curbside recycling for residents of Opelika.

I’m amazed by the number of families that tell me they roll their recycling container to the street one week and trash can to the street the other week. Keep Opelika Beautiful assists OES with promoting all recycling programs.

Another option for recycling is visiting one of the two drop-off centers. The Jeter Recycling Center is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Eighth Avenue Recycling Center is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Within our recycling efforts is hosting the Opelika Shred Day twice a year. The next shred event will take place on Saturday, Oct. 26.

Please be aware that only shredding from residents (no businesses) will be accepted. If your business needs to shred items, we are happy to share contact information for River Mills Data Management.

Tipi Colley Miller is the director of Keep Opelika Beautiful Inc. and writes a weekly column. Contact her at tipi@keepopelikabeautiful.com.

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