Flanked by several blue 96-gallon curbside recycling carts last week, Mayor Kasim Reed announced a major expansion of the Atlanta’s residential recycling program.
Starting October 15, the City of Atlanta will deliver 96-gallon recycling carts to 66,000 households. The citywide distribution of carts is a key component of the City’s sustainability plan, Power to Change, which has a long-term goal of keeping 90 percent of municipal waste out of landfills by 2020.
The new 96-gallon recycling carts will replace residents’ current 18-gallon recycling bins, allowing for more recyclables to be collected. About 30,000 of the city's 95,000 households already have carts.
According to city officials, Atlanta residents generate 96,000 tons of trash annually, which costs the City $7 million a year to dispose of in landfills. City of Atlanta residents recycle only 12,000 tons annually, which leaves significant room for improvement. In addition to the environmental benefits, diverting recyclables from landfills 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,” Reed said in a news release. “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 City of Atlanta’s Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, 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.
"Recycling isn’t just a good thing to do, it’s smart, efficient government in action,” Duriya Farooqui, the city's Chief Operating Officer, said in the press release.
Dexter White, Deputy Commissioner of the city's Department of Public Works, said introducing large recycling cards is proven to help communities increase the volume of waste that gets recycled.
“Per person per household, we throw away more than double the national average," White said in a news release. "We can do better. These larger carts and our Cartlanta education campaign will make sure we do.”
- The City of Atlanta contributed to this story
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