Here in Atlanta, we’re fortunate to have trash and recycling pickups provided by the city; some areas of the country have trash pickup but no recycling, while other, more remote, areas don’t even have trash pickup. It’s important to remember that, since recycling is a taxpayer service, it’s in our best interest to take advantage of this service. Furthermore, recycling in Atlanta is a great way to help the environment. Let’s answer a common question, “why is recycling important?” and discuss how to recycle in Atlanta.

Why Is Recycling Important?

Recycling Keeps Plastics and Metal Out of Landfills and the Ocean

Items like plastic shopping bags, plastic bottles, aluminum cans, plastic wrap, and plastic food storage bags all take anywhere from 20 to 500 years to decompose. However, plastics never fully break down, ending up in tiny pieces called microplastics. These tiny pieces of plastic can have a massively negative impact on the environment, both on land and at sea.  Recycling in Atlanta and surrounding areas can help keep our farmland and coastal waters safe for wildlife and residents.

Recycling Reuses Materials and Reduces Their Production

Recycling plants don’t just dispose of our plastic, metal, paper, and glass products; they refine these products and allow them to be reused in post-consumer products. For example, recycled paper can be recycled into napkins or to-go food containers, glass shards can be re-melted and blown into more bottles, and aluminum cans can be melted and re-cast into other aluminum products. Plastics can even be reused, too! Fleece and polyester clothing are made from plastic, often from recycled plastic to save money and help reduce the plastic load on the environment.

Recycling Can Positively Impact a City’s Economic Growth

Recycling also has impacts on the economy, as it reduces the need to obtain and acquire fresh materials for production. Mining efforts, plastic production, and other material acquisition processes can be reduced when a city or region recycles efficiently. This will save the producers money and time, allowing for easier growth and expansion.

How to Recycle

Different states, cities, and even districts can have different rules regarding the recycling of recyclable goods. For example, some states offer deposit returns on glass and plastic bottles. Georgia is not currently one of these states, so plastic and glass bottles must be recycled with the rest of your recyclable goods. Some areas of the country do not have access to curbside pickups; if you are in one of these areas, we encourage you to still do your part and take recyclables to a local recycling center; this helps keep minimally-degradable materials out of our country’s landfills.

Generally speaking, recyclable goods are picked up on a weekly or bi-weekly basis by the city. You will either use a single bin to house all of your recyclable goods or you will need to sort the goods into separate categories: paper, metal, glass, and plastic. Some cities will ask that you simply separate paper from the other goods, while others will require that they all be separated. This separation helps the recycling facility take care of the goods more quickly.  Luckily, recycling in Atlanta is simple, not requiring the separation of goods.

Recycling in Atlanta

  • Fill your city-provided bin or cart with the following: glass, plastic, paper, and metal.
  • If you need a new bin or cart, contact the city.
  • You can also use any other container that is clearly marked as containing recyclables.
  • You do not need to sort your recyclable goods in Atlanta.
  • Place your bin or cart curbside by 7 A.M. on your collection day.
  • Recyclables will be collected on the same day as your trash.

Not sure how to recycle a certain item? Take a peek at the Atlanta recycling wizard tool and type in the name of your item. If you have any questions about how to recycle in Atlanta, visit the Atlanta city website for recycling.

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