Where can I take my recyclables?

Looking for how to recycle an item or find your nearest recycling locations?  Try The Recycling Partnership’s online resource Recycle Check at https://recyclecheck.org/

Georgia has partnered with Earth 911, a national non-profit organization that provides an interactive website and telephone hotline service. By dialing 1-800-CLEANUP, or going to www.Earth911.org via internet, you will find local environmental information indexed by zip code. The service posts all public access recycling drop-off sites, along with information on local curbside collection programs, household hazardous waste programs, information on how-to report illegal dumping, as well as who to contact for more information in your local area.

How do I find markets for materials (recyclable commodities)?

For small quantities of residentially-generated recyclables, we recommend that you use the Earth 911 service described in Question #1 to locate a local drop-off site. For larger quantities, or to hire a recycling service vendor, check the Yellow Pages under “Recycling Centers”. Businesses or organizations generating truckload quantities (20-ton lots) of materials, or large quantities of baled corrugated cardboard, for example, should search the Georgia Recycling Markets Directory at www.dca.state.ga.us/development/EnvironmentalManagement/programs/recycling/default.asp to find dealers and end users of recyclables. You may also access the Markets Directory from this website: Return to the home page, click Resources, Links, and scroll to Finding Local Markets.

How do I start a recycling program at my office or school?

Keep America Beautiful (www.kab.org) offers a School Recycling Guide for $7.50 on its website. From the home page, click Shop KAB. Also, make sure to visit www.eeingeorgia.org for ideas, lesson plans, and grant opportunities that will assist you in planning and developing waste reduction and recycling programs in your school. Local KAB programs are an excellent resource to get started. To find out if you have a local KAB in your community, go to: http://www.keepgeorgiabeautiful.org/local_affiliate.asp.

The Sustainability Program of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources offers technical assistance to businesses and industry, as well as to universities and military installations in reducing waste and preventing pollution. They also offer a Sustainable Office Toolkit that provides assistance in assessing needs and setting up office recycling programs; find the toolkit at http://www1.gadnr.org/sustain/toolkit/

Don’t forget to contact your local government recycling program manager for assistance as well. Ask for the Public Works, Solid Waste, Recycling, Sanitation or Environmental Department.

Why aren't recycling opportunities the same in every community?

  • The recycling industry is market driven. There must be an economically viable and logistically reasonable end-use for the material in order for it to be collected (whether drop-off or curbside) by a local government, private firm, or civic organization. Markets (end-users) typically accept truck-load quantities of a given material to be saleable. A truck-load is a tractor-trailer load ranging in weight from 30,000 to 40,000 pounds. In addition, recyclables must be baled so that these minimum weights can be obtained. Smaller communities may lack the resources necessary to purchase a baler or may not generate the quantities necessary to justify its purchase and/or the space to store the materials for long periods.
  • Accessibility to the market (end user) must be considered. The farther an area is from the end-user, the higher the transportation costs. As recyclable commodities fluctuate in value, this becomes an economic challenge for collectors.

Who in my community can I contact about recycling?

If you have a Keep America Beautiful affiliate in your community, contact them for information on waste reduction/recycling programs and projects in your area. You may also contact your local city or county Public Works, Solid Waste, Sanitation, or Environmental Departments.

What about proper disposal or recycling of special wastes like paint, antifreeze, motor oil, mercury thermometers, etc?

Check out the US EPA information on Household Hazardous Waste: http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/hhw.htm

Contact your local government recycling program manager for assistance on proper disposal or recycling of these items; ask for the Public Works, Solid Waste, Recycling, Sanitation or Environmental Department.

What about recycling old computers, TV sets, telephones and other electronics?

Many of these products contain toxic substances such as mercury, lead, cadmium and flame retardants that should not be disposed of in landfills. For information about electronics recycling and a list of vendors, click here.

What about the recycling of old appliances?

Many old appliances contain recyclable components like metals. Some scrap metal dealers will accept appliances for recycling if you can deliver them to their sites. A list of dealers is available on the Georgia Recycling Markets Directory; click on “metals” in the commodities drop down box: www.dca.state.ga.us/development/EnvironmentalManagement/programs/recycling/default.asp.

In the case of appliances containing refrigerants (Freon), scrap metal dealers may not accept them unless the refrigerant has already been removed. Do not attempt to remove refrigerants yourself; contact your local recycling coordinator or local government solid waste office for local resources to remove these items. If you need the appliance hauled for you, contact your local solid waste hauling company or your city/county department (whoever picks up garbage from your home).

What about battery recycling?

Rechargeable batteries like those in cell phones, cordless phones, and power tools are accepted at many local community drop-off sites and at many retail locations. For more information, check out the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation’s website at http://www.call2recycle.org/.

Automobile batteries, also known as lead acid batteries are prohibited from disposal in Georgia landfills. They must be recycled under Georgia law. Check with your local auto dealer, battery retail location, or other retail outlet about recycling these batteries. When you purchase a new auto battery, the dealer or retail outlet should accept your old one for recycling.

Alkaline batteries are not as recyclable as other batteries due to the relatively low value of the metals in them as well as the high cost of recycling them. They are also not as hazardous as they used to be due to the industry’s endeavors to phase out some toxic chemicals used in them. Very few outlets exist in the state for recycling these batteries.

What about reusable household items?

Numerous charitable and non-profit organizations accept clothing, furniture, and household items in good repair. These include familiar names like Goodwill Industries, the Salvation Army, Vietnam Veterans of America, and the American Kidney Foundation, as well as local groups like Potter’s House and the St. Vincent DePaul Society. Consult your local phone directory for listings or www.Earth911.org. You may wish to contact your local recycling program manager or Keep America Beautiful program for ideas specific to your community.

What about tire recycling?

Georgia law promotes the reuse and recycling of scrap tires. Whole tires are banned from disposal in Georgia landfills. There are a number of companies in Georgia that process scrap tires, converting them into useful products such as chips for industrial boiler fuel or septic drain-field material. Scrap tires may also be made into rubber mats, running tracks, or even road paving material. The best way to recycle your old tires is to leave them with the retailer when you purchase new tires; state law allows retailers to charge you a small fee for handling the scrap tires for recycling.

How should I get rid of tree limbs and other yard trimmings?

Grass clippings and yard trimmings are banned from municipal solid waste landfills in Georgia, except those that have methane gas collection systems in place. The simplest and often the best way to handle grass clippings is to leave them in place-they decompose rapidly, do not contribute to thatch build-up, and actually help “fertilize” your lawn.

Where can I learn about carpet recycling?

Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) is a joint industry-government effort to increase the amount of recycling and reuse of post-consumer carpet and reduce the amount of waste carpet going to landfills.
Click here for more information about CARE.
To find local carpet reclamation partners in Georgia here.