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Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful Awarded $10K Bank of America Charitable Foundation Grant

Gwinnett County Eco-Focused Nonprofit to use grant funds in the production of multilingual, educational and reusable recycling bags made from recyclable materials.

Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful has been awarded a $10,000 grant by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. These grant dollars will be used to manufacture Green Communities reusable bags printed with recycling tips in a variety of languages to encourage proper recycling and reduce cross-contamination in the recycling chain.

Once this program is implemented, the bags will be produced from recyclable materials and distributed at a number of Gwinnett County events. As part of a larger initiative, the Green Communities reusable bag is intended to be used to collect recyclables in the home and transfer them to curbside bins and carts. GC&B’s larger initiative focuses on improving recycling, reducing litter and beautifying the Gwinnett County community in order to increase overall livability and vitality.

“We’ve found that a lot of households like to collect their recyclables in plastic grocery bags,” said Schelly Marlatt, Executive Director for Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful.

“Unfortunately, those bags are not recyclable curbside and often lead to contamination of the recycling supply chain. It is our hope to not only replace those bags with the reusable bags we’ll be providing – thanks to this grant from Bank of America, but we’ll also be educating Gwinnett County citizens on key steps to take to recycle properly. Most people have the very best of intentions but may not know that they are hindering the recycling process when they’re just trying to help. And because Gwinnett County is such a diverse community representing many nationalities, we plan to design the bags to include recycling tips in a number of languages. It is our hope that this effort will prove so successful that we’ll be able to continue to produce and supply these bags to our citizens in the years to come. We are truly grateful to Bank of America for finding value in our vision and partnering with us to see that it becomes a reality.”

Rather than hand out brochures at events to educate the public about proper recycling – which might get thrown away once read, Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful wanted to give Gwinnett County citizens something they could use. The Green Communities reusable bag will address several needs in the community:

  • They will share information in multiple languages through a purposeful item that people are less likely to throw away
  • They will educate citizens about the proper way to recycle to reduce contamination in the recycling stream, thereby improving the county’s carbon footprint and reducing valuable landfill space
  • They will reduce litter to help keep Gwinnett County clean, green, and livable

“We are excited to partner with Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful on this initiative,” said Wendy Stewart, Atlanta market president, Bank of America. “Our commitment is to help build thriving communities by addressing issues fundamental to economic health and sustainability which makes this a good partnership with this leading environmental organization.”

In addition to the bags, Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful endeavors to educate the public by offering tips and information on its website at For items that cannot be recycled curbside, the website also outlines destinations that will accept those items. While not recyclable curbside, the plastic grocery bags that the Green Communities reusable bags seek to replace are accepted for recycling at a number of retail locations such as Publix, Walmart, Lowes, and Target, just to name a few.

“For those who’ve become accustomed to collecting their recyclables in the home in plastic grocery bags, we understand that it might be a hard habit to break,” said Marlatt. “Which is why we’re hoping the reusable bags will make the switch a simple one. Placing plastic grocery bags in the curbside recycling bin can cause delays during the sorting process, as well as cause damage to both recycling trucks and sorting equipment. We recommend that our neighbors either use reusable shopping bags each time they go to the store or get into the habit of bringing their empty plastic bags back to the retail location and placing them in their dedicated bins.”

To learn more about Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful, visit their page on The Guide to Gwinnett.