Chipping away: Volunteers help in annual recycling event

Photo by Tori Boone

Photo by Tori Boone

LAWRENCEVILLE -- More than 100 volunteers helped chip recycled Christmas trees into mulch Saturday at Rhodes Jordan Park.

The mulch created at the annual "Bring One for the Chipper" event will be used at Gwinnett County parks, as well as some schools, said Connie Wiggins, executive director of Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful. The mulch will help conserve and protect soil and water, she said.

"This is a way we can give something back to trees and plants and nature," Wiggins said. "It's amazing to me that something as simple as recycling Christmas trees is such a beautiful gift back to nature."

Many of the volunteers came from Gwinnett County high schools. Georgia Power and Jackson Electric Membership Corporation provided the chipping crews.

Central Gwinnett High School sophomore Mimi Habtemariam said she thought the event would be a fun community service activity.

"It was a lot of hard labor, but in the end, it came out pretty cool," she said.

Alphonso Wisseh, also a sophomore at Central Gwinnett, said he didn't expect so many Christmas trees.

"When I got here, there were trees lined up all over the place," he said.

Wiggins said the total number of Christmas trees recycled was not available Saturday, as the tally had not been calculated. Traditionally, Gwinnett County residents recycle one out of every three Christmas trees recycled in Georgia.

Meadowcreek High School senior Marco Sanchez said this was his third year volunteering for "Bring One for the Chipper."

"It's fun," he said. "It really keeps us involved."

Nearly 40 of the volunteers came from Meadowcreek. Sanchez said the school's Key Club spreads the word about the event and invites students to participate.

"I wish I would have come before," said senior Karen Perez, adding that this was her first year volunteering at the event.

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