Staff Photo: John Bohn Brenda McDaniel, manager of Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful, leads a tour of the Recycling Bank of Gwinnett in Duluth on Saturday. Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful celebrated America Recycles Day by conducting tours of the recycling facility.
DULUTH -- Have you ever wondered what happens to your personal documents after the pages are shredded and recycled?
Let's put it this way -- it's what you want to do with your tax forms after sending the information to the IRS.
"Put this image in your mind -- a lot of people bring us their old taxes returns," said Connie Wiggins, executive director of Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful. "When those documents are shredded, they go to a company and are turned into toilet paper."
On Saturday morning, the local nonprofit received its fair share of files, aluminum cans, glass bottles and all things recyclable during its 15th annual America Recycles Day at the Recycling Bank of Gwinnett.
"It has been crazy today," Wiggins said. "We've had people showing up since quarter 'til 8 (a.m.), which is fabulous. We've had several hundred people who have come through and well over 100 cars. We even had a couple of large trucks that brought in materials."
Orlando Velez of Suwanee brought several bags of paper to the event -- one large sack specifically to meet the shredder.
"My wife and I had a bag of financial documents and stuff like that laying in our office for about two years," he said while closing the trunk to his car. "We figured this would be a great opportunity to get rid of it."
Not only could people recycle without leaving the comfort of their car, they were invited to take free tours through the recycling bank to learn how the items are collected, sorted and packed for the next step of the recycling process.
Emma Williams, the resident den mother of Bears Pack 544 of Lawrenceville, thought a tour would be perfect for the group of six boys from Taylor Elementary School as a teaching tool.
"I think we need to encourage them to change our future," she said about the Scouts. "Unfortunately what's happening in our future is that we need to start more recycling, look at clean energy ... and I'm trying to encourage my son to save on energy.
"The more I'm recycling, the more I feel like I'm contributing to my kid's future and I just want them to learn about it, too."
Wiggins was equally has enthusiastic to teach people of all ages about the benefits of keeping trash out of landfills.
"It's really exciting to see young, old, all different nationalities, backgrounds, what have you ... out recycling today," she said. "It's awesome to see people embracing the importance of recycling and what a difference it makes."