Residents have complained that waste haulers have been known to put recyclables in the same truck as household trash, which means it isn’t being recycled.

Sandy Springs will require solid waste haulers working in the city to offer recycling services, though their customers are not required to sign up for the service and recycle.

Sustainability Manager Catherine Mercier-Baggett presented the city code amendment to City Council at its Jan. 17 meeting.

All but one of the city’s waste haulers already offer recycling services, she said. The other hauler was grandfathered in so it does not have to offer recycling. It reported fewer than 20 customers in 2022 and no longer accepts new customers.

Single-family residential customers must be offered a curbside recycling collection program. Multifamily and non-residential customers must be offered curbside/on-site recycling, Mercier-Baggett said. The recycling program must include the regular collection of at least one category of commonly recyclable goods, such as paper and cardboard, plastics #1-7, or aluminum and steel cans.

The recyclable materials collected must be delivered ultimately to a licensed Material Recovery Facility (MRF), and not disposed of at a landfill, according to her report. Council members said is related to the biggest complaint about recycling from city residents.

One of the biggest complaints we get from our citizens is the problems they have with collecting trash,” Councilmember Tibby DeJulio said.

He said he’s seen trash haulers put recycling into the same truck as household trash. He asked how that can be prevented.

Mercier-Baggett said she has the same concern and has heard that from many people. Staff won’t be following trucks to see where the trash is hauled, but they can ask for the waste haulers’ delivery records to the landfill or a recycling location.

“Are there any companies that are threatening to stop collecting recycles? Because it would be a disaster for us if like for instance, Waste Management said we’re not going to collect recycles anymore, we’re not going to service Sandy Springs, in my opinion,” Councilmember Jody Reichel said.

 Mercier-Baggett said they have not heard any waste hauler speak against it.

The change to code is part of the city’s Green Communities recertification efforts through the Atlanta Regional Commission. Providing recycling services or requiring contractors to offer it makes the city eligible for points toward that certification.

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.