The Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC), a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit environmental organization, was founded in 1939 by a group of concerned citizens in the Philadelphia area who were concerned with the proliferation of billboards and other forms of roadside blight. They came together just as Pennsylvania legislature commissioned what would become the first leg of America’s Interstate High System, the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The founders were all active members of local Garden Clubs and initially named their new group “Associated Clubs for Roadside Development” – an outgrowth of the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania. Before the end of 1939, they changed the name to better reflect their mission to the Pennsylvania Roadside Council.
After more than a decade of successfully campaigning to protect the scenic assets of Pennsylvania the PRC began to recognize a new threat along our roadsides: litter. As more and more drivers took to the new roadways of America, a new crisis emerged in the form of motorist’s discarded detritus. PRC quickly took on the challenge and began including roadside litter as a central theme of its campaigns. In 1952 PRC introduced what has become one of the most recognized public service mascots of our time, the Litterbug.
In the mid 1990’s PRC re-imagined the Litterbug to present a more politically correct character. While he lost his cigarette and traded in his coarse looks for a softer appearance he remained a highly recognizable mascot in our fight against litter.
Just as PRC came to litter through our work to protect scenic beauty, we found recycling as a natural outcome of our efforts to prevent litter. Our focus on waste diversion and recycling rapidly evolved in the 1970’s as America began to embrace alternatives to landfills and waste incinerators. PRC became a national leader on issues related to recycling and helped craft Pennsylvania’s groundbreaking Act 101 which set the standard for state recycling laws as it was signed by Governor Bob Casey in 1988.