Over the past three months, more than 16,000 people in Gwinnett participated 186 projects and events around the county as part of the 2013 Great American Cleanup, Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful announced on Monday. The Great American Cleanup is a national grassroots effort to revitalize neighborhoods and renew civic pride.
"This event builds bonds between neighbors when they roll up their sleeves and work hand in hand to cleanup, green up and beautify their neighborhoods," Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful Executive Director Connie Wiggins said.
Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful has coordinated the Great American Cleanup since it began in 1986. The 2013 campaign, called "I Pledge to Keep Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful", encouraged individuals to pledge to be an environmental steward every day. That resulted in the following numbers in just three months. Gwinnettians:
-- Collected more than 1.9 million pounds of materials for recycling (a 90 percdent increase over 2012).
-- Removed 36,360 pounds of litter and debris from public lands and rights-of-way.
-- Cleaned and beautified 186 miles of roadways
Several dozen community organizations accepted the Gwinnett Challenge to make a bigger impact in 2013. Each group designed its own project and competed to earn a Challenge Title and cash prize. Eight community groups were selected by a panel of judges for making the biggest transformation and impact on their neighborhood and community. Each winner earned a challenge title and a $500 cash prize.
The award winners included:
-- Tucker Woods Homeowner's Association, which won The Green-up Your Neighborhood title. The volunteers gave 59 hours of their time and talents to improve their neighborhood. They cleaned five miles of roadway, collected more than 200 pounds of trash, and hosted a "Cleanup Party" with hotdogs and ice cream for the 25 neighborhood volunteers.
-- Lynnfield Park Subdivision Homeowner's Association, which won the Stash the Trash award. Volunteers rolled up their sleeves to put trash in its proper place. They removed more than 300 pounds of litter and recyclables from their neighborhood streets.
-- Duluth Matters, which won The Beautify Your Space title. The group beautified an old alley in downtown Duluth's historic district by clearing out trash, resurfacing the walkway, and repainting three large walls. Their efforts revitalized a strolling space that the entire community can now enjoy.
-- United Peachtree Corners Civic Association with the city of Peachtree Corners received the Put Litter in Place title. The group removed nearly 2,000 pounds of litter and debris from six different locations, making Gwinnett's newest city a cleaner, greener and safer place.
-- LAN Systems, which won The Recycle Now title. The group hosted an Earth Day e-recycling event and collected 4,526 pounds of used electronics. Thanks to this project, these items will be kept out of the landfills and recycled or reused.
-- Sycamore National Junior Beta Club, which won the Grow Green title. The students grew a greener school. They made craft items out of recycled goods, sold them to generate funds to beautify their school grounds and enhance a pollinator garden.
-- Coca-Cola Refreshments, which won the Shred Your Stuff award. The group set up a new paper recycling system in the office and brought the paper they collected to the Recycling Bank of Gwinnett.
-- Mother Nature's Minions Lanier High School Environmental Club won The Reuse It award. Students collected 513 books that were donated for reuse to the Gwinnett Children's Shelter and to Zindagitrust.org for the children of Pakistan.