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Doing their part: Eco-friendly residents turn out for America Recycles Day

Staff Photos: Jonathan Phillips. Nichelle Garrett, center, dumps a bag full of plastic bottles into one of the bins at the Recycling Bank of Gwinnett in Duluth on Saturday. Sponsored by Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful, America Recycles Day is an annual event organized to educate, engage and encourage residents to recycle and buy recycled products.

Staff Photos: Jonathan Phillips. Nichelle Garrett, center, dumps a bag full of plastic bottles into one of the bins at the Recycling Bank of Gwinnett in Duluth on Saturday. Sponsored by Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful, America Recycles Day is an annual event organized to educate, engage and encourage residents to recycle and buy recycled products.

DULUTH -- Recycling isn't included in Nichelle Garrett's trash plan, but the Stone Mountain resident doesn't throw away her plastic bottles and aluminum cans.

On Saturday, Garrett brought her recyclables to the Recycling Bank of Gwinnett, where she said she can easily drop off items.

In honor of America Recycles Day, those who brought items to the recycling bank had the opportunity to win one of two $100 gift cards to The Home Depot. Additionally, every hour between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., recyclers had the chance to win prizes.

America Recycles Day is a nationwide initiative to encourage Americans to recycle and buy recycled products.

"We are heightening the awareness about why recycling is important and how easy it is to do," said Connie Wiggins, the executive director of Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful, which operates the Recycling Bank on Satellite Boulevard. "We hope this inspires more people to get involved and do their part."

The biggest benefit provided by recycling is in the conservation of energy, Wiggins said. Americans make up 4 percent of the world's population but account for 25 percent of energy use globally.

"Recycling is a great way to help conserve that energy," Wiggins said.

For example, recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to power a computer for four hours, she said.

Suwanee resident John Wilson is a native Australian but has lived here for about six years.

"I'm very used to recycling," Wilson said. "I store everything in my garage and come here (to the Recycling Bank) about once every three months."

Recyclers can drop off items 24 hours a day seven days a week. The Recycling Bank of Gwinnett, located at 4300 Satellite Blvd. in Duluth, accepts more than 30 items, including cardboard boxes and cartons, shopping catalogs and discarded mail, glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles and aluminum containers.

Some items that are not accepted include plastic food containers, plastic bags and plastic foam like Styrofoam.

For more information, visit www.gwinnettcb.org.