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Clean up trashes previous years' mark

DULUTH - Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful announced this week that its 11th annual Great American Clean Up event was its most successful in history.

That's because in addition to picking up litter - the clean up's signature event - the group of about 400 volunteers also recycled the most items ever while also covering the largest amount of territory.

"We were extremely pleased with this year's turnout and the results," GCB Director Connie Wiggins said. "We were delighted to see our participation increase by four times over the previous event."

Wiggins said a record 31 Gwinnett roadsides were covered in this year's clean up, which ended May 31. She said in the four-week period where volunteers picked up litter, they also set another record by collecting 300 bins worth of recyclable materials in addition to the trash.

"The volunteers removed about 200 large garbage bags of litter from our streets, which was the second-highest amount since 2000 and almost six times what was removed in 2006," she said.

She added that this year's clean up also focused on public education, and that 3,000 Gwinnettians learned about the benefits of "putting the lid on litter" and the importance of recycling.

"Litter hurts our community, it repels economic development, it decreases property values, it increases community decline and decay, and it decreases tourism," Wiggins said. "The most important thing to know is people cause litter and people can stop it."

She said the outreach was an example of how the organization works for the changing community at large. She also said a new program was coming soon that would involve everyone and help make Gwinnett "the cleanest, safest and most desirable place to live, work and visit in the nation."

"Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful works with our partners and volunteers to make Gwinnett a better place to live by being involved in issues like recycling, neighborhood improvement, litter and graffiti prevention and greenspace," Wiggins said.