OUR VIEW: Gwinnett up to the Cleanup challenge

With all due respect to The Coasters, when it comes to taking out the papers and the trash there's usually more "yakety yack" than action taken in local communities. But as the latest results from the Great American Cleanup show, Gwinnett pays more than lip service when it comes to beautification and recycling efforts.

This week Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful announced the results from local participation in the national, grassroots effort. And the numbers over the past three months were impressive:

-- More than 16,000 local participants

-- 186 projects completed

-- More than 1.9 million pounds of materials collected for recycling

-- More than 36,000 pounds of litter and debris removed from public lands and rights of way

-- More than 180 miles of roadways cleaned and beautified

Those numbers are impressive, but don't think Gwinnettians are content to rest on their trash laurels. The 1.9 million pounds of materials recycled represents a 90 percent increase over the county's efforts in last year's Great American Cleanup. So while the 2013 numbers are great, expect them to increase next year as local residents and organizations continue to recycle papers when they take out the trash.

As part of Gwinnet's efforts in the Great American Cleanup, 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 groups were selected by a panel of judges for making the biggest transformation and impact on their neighborhood and community. Each challenge winner earned a $500 cash prize, but the eight winners also deserve mention here for their efforts:

-- Sycamore National Junior Beta Club

-- Mother Nature's Minions Lanier High School Environmental Club

-- Lynnfield Park Subdivision Homeowner's Association

-- Duluth Matters

-- United Peachtree Corners Civic Association

-- LAN Systems

-- Coca-Cola Refreshments

-- Tucker Woods Homeowner's Association

Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful does a nice job of promoting this project, but their leaders will be the first to tell you it's groups like the aforementioned that are the true impetus to a successful campaign. As the numbers they accumulated attest, they don't mind taking out the papers and the trash, and they certainly aren't coasters.