By Michelle Wiseman
Director for Waste Diversion, City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Sustainability

Atlanta is on the rise. New buildings are sprouting up across the city from offices to in particular, multi-family housing. Over half of the city’s residents live in multi-family units and this is where the bulk of city’s residential growth is projected for years to come.

The City of Atlanta’s multi-family residents will soon get a little greener thanks to the enforcement of a 2008 ordinance requiring all multi-family buildings with six units or more, to offer recycling service to its residents. At the beginning of the year, property owners and managers were notified that in addition to offering trash service they will need to set up separate containers for recycling.

Expanding recycling sounds pretty simple but it’s not as easy as putting a few blue bins out near the current trash dumpsters. The bins aren’t worth much without promoting recycling awareness and education. While haulers will help set up building’s recycling area with clearer labeling, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability team will be out in the community to support stronger recycling in single and multi-family households. Atlanta’s recycling works best if everyone pitches in.

Recycling right is the key. A few bags of trash comingled in recycling can contaminate an entire load. We want to help residents, particularly those in multi-family housing, understand which items belong in the recycling bin: Flattened cardboard, paper, magazines, newspaper, junk mail, aluminum cans, metal cans, and plastic containers including water and detergent bottles. Cartons are now acceptable because they are made of 80 percent paper, but glass is out.

While glass is highly recyclable, most multi-family recyclers are private companies and do not allow glass as part of co-mingled material. For now multifamily residents can take their glass to CHaRM (the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials) located at 1110 Hill St., SE in order to properly recycle glass, plastic bags, Styrofoam and other non-traditional items.

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Collin KelleyEditor

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.