Livable/Sustainable glass-recycling

Published on July 7th, 2016 |

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Buckhead’s dilemma: What to do with all that glass?

Why is Atlanta continuing to pay its recycling vendor to discard the glass we are carefully washing and putting in our recycling bins? The North Buckhead Civic Association’s Sue Certain is one Buckhead resident who would like to know.

In this month’s North Buckhead Civic Association newsletter, Certain shares a neighbor’s eye-opening account of a recent visit to Waste Pro (the city’s recycling vendor): “Waste Pro told the

This is an example of the new resident customer identification number and bar code tghat will be on the recycling recepticlesl

This is an example of the resident customer identification number and bar code that are on the city’s recycling receptacles.

group they did not recycle glass because it didn’t make financial sense.

“It turns out that recycling contracts are fairly complex. The recycling company pays the city for every pound of recyclable material that it collects and is able to sell, but it charges the city for every pound that it is not able to recycle and has to send to the landfill.”

You read that right: Waste Pro is separating out the glass we recycle, dumping it in a landfill, and charging the city for the estimated 5.5 million pounds of glass it discards annually.

But rather than tell Atlanta residents not to waste their time collecting that glass in their recycling bins, the city appears to be ignoring the problem.

Why not tell the truth and save taxpayers the expense? Certain has a few ideas: “Is the city measuring their recycling progress by the pound, and having glass makes their statistics look better? Do they not want to change because including glass is the way they have always done it? Do they prefer it go into the Cherokee County landfill rather than the City of Atlanta landfill? Were they looking through rose-colored spectacles, thinking the glass market would soon improve?”

Rather than compound the problem, the Certain family has stopped putting glass in their recycling bin.

BuckheadView has a couple of suggestions for the Certains and other Buckhead families who want to ensure their glass is recycled:

  1. Collect your glass in a separate bin and take it to the Sandy Springs Recycling Center at 470 Morgan Falls Road. They also take hard-to-recycle items like fluorescent light bulbs and batteries. Click here for information and directions.
  2. If you can wait a month between recycling options, you can now take your glass to Keep Atlanta Beautiful’s Buckhead Community Recycling Center, which takes place the first Saturday of each month, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the rear parking lot of Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church, 2715 Peachtree Road in Buckhead. Click here for more information.
  3. You can drive down to the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) at 1110 Hill St SE, Atlanta, GA 30315. Click here for more information.

Neither solution is ideal, so if you want to make your voice heard, feel free to contact the Mayor (click here) or your City Council representative. Scroll down on our Community Links page for contact information.

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    2 Responses to Buckhead’s dilemma: What to do with all that glass?

    1. Boyd Leake says:

      First of all WastePro doesn’t empty anyone’s recycling bin in the City of Atlanta, residential waste and recycling are collected curbside by Atlanta’s Public Works Department. Glass recycling is currently a complex nationwide problem. Many of the questions and comments in your article could answered by a conversation with the City’s Recycling Coordinator or the Georgia Recycling Coalition. I would be glad to put you in touch with them. Also, Atlanta’s Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) takes and sorts glass for recycling.

      • John Schaffner says:

        Thanks for your comments, Boyd. We’ve added the CHaRM Center to the list of options and corrected the reference to Waste Pro picking up the bins. We are well aware of the CHaRM Center, but are currently using the other two options, because they are more convenient. Buckhead desperately needs a center! We always welcome guest posts, and would be more than willing to include one from either group you reference. (Note that Sue’s article in the newsletter says they did reach out to the city…)

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