Monday, May 9, 2016

Gwinnett County Celebrates Earth Day

By Cindy Pitts Gilbert  Buford Weekly Illustrated  April 10, 2016
Gwinnett County  just celebrated its sixth Earth Day Recycling Event on April 9th, 2016 at Cool Ray Field Gwinnett Braves Stadium. Cars lined up in 4 rows from Highway 20 to the parking lot, where vans and trucks lined up to take old tires, paper in need of shredding, old cans of usable paint, old sneakers, electronics, as well as empty printer ink and toner cartridges.  Gwinnett Recycles twice a year; in November for America's Recycle Day and in April for Earth Day.  This year the lines were longer than ever to donate their recyclables.  Over the last few years, Gwinnett County Waste Management has recycled over  a hundred tons of electronics, thousands of pounds of textiles, thousands of shoes and printer cartridges.  The team at Gwinnett County Waste Management  headed  by Schelly Marlatt and her team do an amazing job coordinating the different vendors that collect recycling.
There are a large groups of students and adults who volunteer each year for this community event.  High School students interested in community service events and a group of Fire Explorers help to direct traffic and keep everything running smoothly.  The fire explorers are all students from age 14-18 who spend every Thursday evening learning drills and learning what it is like to be a fire fighter here in Gwinnett. 

I spent some extra time meeting the vendor's this year and learning what they do with the recycling.  The old sneakers are separated into two groups one group are those that are just slightly used and can be given to those who need shoes. The shoes that are no longer wearable are ground up and turned into playground material.  The paint donated must be at least 25% full and usable. They take the paint to other countries, This batch of paint will go to Liberia to paint the university there,which hasn't been repainted since their civil war in 1987.  The school will require over 4,000 gallons to repair the still bloodstained walls of the university.  They have also painted projects in Mexico, Haiti, Central America and many other areas in need of recovery.  The printer cartridges will be re-manufactured and resold, reducing the need for new products to be created to meet demand.  Recycling ink and toner cartridges reduces the waste in our landfill.  Some pieces of cartridges take over a thousand years to decompose and the amount of those thrown away every year if put end to end would circle the earth 3 times.  

Secure paper shredding is a great way to create additional space in your home and feel secure that the documents you are disposing of don't end up in the hands of identity thieves.  Over the years, televisions and computer monitors have continued to grow it has only been very recently, that flat screen technology has allowed the television to become part of the living room not the entire focus of the room. Large bulky televisions and old monitors  that are recycled have a significant impact on the reduction of  waste that doesn't decompose or poison the ground in our local landfills. 
Gwinnett County thank you for your contribution to our community by offering this event twice a year.  Please check their website or join the newsletter for the next recycle event to be held in November. 

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