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Home > News > General > City to try new recycling program

City to try new recycling program

Posted: February 17th, 2009 @ 9:40pm

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution /

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin is expected to unveil a pilot program today (Saturday, Nov 17, 2007) that city officials hope will encourage residents to recycle more.

Residents will no longer be required to sort recycled materials, and the city will give 10,000 homes 95-gallon blue bins, instead of the current 18-gallon containers.

The city has also created a point system.  Neighbors can pool their recycling points to get recycled items such as playground equipment, park benches, picnic tables and rubberized jogging tracks for local community parks. (emphasis added)

The city is spending $800,000 on the plan, which is coming from city funds and corporate sponsors, according to the Atlanta Department of Public Works.  The corporate sponsors will be decided soon but no breakdown of how much they will contribute has been established yet, city officials said.  The program is scheduled to start early next year.

Gloria Hardegree, executive director of the Georiga Recycling Coalition, said the program will simplify recycling for Atlanta residents. 

"It makes it less complicated which things have to go in which bins," said Hardegree, whose group will have a recycling exhibit today at Isabel Gates Webster Park, where Franklin is announcing the plan.

Recent technology allows companies to better sort recycled items, she said.

The city collects more than 7,000 tons of recycled material a year, according to the public works department.

Hardegree, whose 275-member organization provides advice to cities and the state on recycling, said Atlanta has been "less than adequate" in its recycling efferts, but is now "moving in the right direction."  She said Atlanta hasn't actively promoted its recycling programs.

"There has to be a paradigm shift in the public," Hardegree said.

The City Council earlier this month voted to create a 16-member task force to come up with a mandatory recycling program for businesses.  Recommendations should come in nine months.

Atlanta is required to reduce 25 percent of its waste stream, according to the council's task force resolution.  The city hasn't reached that goal, the resolution said.  City officials will randomly select which homes get the larger recycling bins.  Public works officials said they didn't want to give the 95-gallon bins to every household because they wanted to examine the pilot program and make any necessary changes.  The city has nearly 170,000 homes, condos and apartments, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

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