Atlanta to Expand Curbside Recycling Program

To boost recycling levels the city will give residents 96-gallon curbside recycling carts.

September 24, 2012
Recycling Today Staff
Municipal / IC&I

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has announced that the city will expand its curbside recycling program by switching from 18-gallon carts to 96-gallon curbside recycling carts. The switch to the larger carts is part of Atlanta’s Power to Change sustainability program, which seeks to achieve a 90 percent diversion of municipal solid waste by 2020.

Atlanta’s recycling program, managed by the city’s Department of Public Works, serves 95,000 households. The city says that the new carts will allow residents to collect more recyclable material. At the present time about 30,000 residents have the larger carts.

Currently, Atlanta residents generate 96,000 tons of trash per year, costing the city $7 million, while residents have recycled only 12,000 tons per year. In addition to the environmental benefits of increasing recycling levels, the city says that boosting the collection of recyclables produces revenue for the city at a rate of $30 per ton.

“One of my goals as mayor is to see Atlanta become a top tier city for sustainability,” says Mayor Reed. “Recycling is an important step towards that goal, as we make Atlanta a greener place to live, work and play. Rolling out these new large capacity recycling carts will make it easier for residents to recycle more.”

The push for expanded recycling will be led by a partnership among the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the Atlanta Department of Public Works and the Curbside Value Partnership (CVP), which has been enlisted to help develop and measure an education campaign designed to educate and encourage residents about the best use of the new carts.

In collaboration with CVP, the city will implement and measure a grassroots education campaign, called Cartlanta: Recycling. Get Into It, which has been designed to increase awareness for the new carts, resulting in higher participation and, ultimately, increased recycling volume.

Education activities will include direct marketing around the rollout of the new carts to residents, an enhanced Web and social media presence, advertising, public relations and grassroots, community-level outreach. The city will measure the impact of the campaign via the Emerge Knowledge Re-TRAC Connect data management tool.