(Published on Wednesday, February 24, 2016 in The Daily Citizen, Dalton, GA.)
Recycle & Reuse: More Than 2 Million Pounds Recycled in 2015
On Monday, February 15 the Dalton Public Works Department’s recycling crew was recognized for their outstanding efforts in 2015. The Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority was on hand to recognize the crew and the residents who recycle at the curb with the little blue bins with awards made from recycled blue glass. In 2015 residents participating in the curbside recycling program collected a grand total of 1,269 tons (2,538,980 lbs.) of recyclable materials. That’s the weight equivalent of 725 midsized cars or 507,796 five-pound bags of sugar.
Voluntary recycling at the curb has been in place for single family homes of three units or less since 1991 making 2015 the 24th year of residential recycling. Recycling is the process of taking a product at the end of it’s useful and using all or part of it to manufacture a new product that can be used again. Materials that are recycled help conserve energy water and raw materials that would have been used to make a product from scratch. Last year residents saved enough energy to power 88 homes for a year.
Because materials that are separated for recycling are not thrown away with household garbage, recycling also reduces the amount of waste being sent to the landfill. Landfills have limited amounts of space to bury garbage, however with the 1,269 tons recycled last year residents conserved approximately 2,116 cubic yards of space in the local landfill. There was also a savings of $34,337 to the city in avoided landfill disposal fees for those materials.
Recycling at the curb could not be possible without the drivers of the curbside recycling trucks who stop at each home on their route once a week to pickup recyclables from the blue bins. During the council meeting the Authority recognized Jason Davis, Danny Sluder, and Wesley Webb for the exceptional work they do collecting the community’s recyclables. Each driver separates the recyclables in the blue bins by hand into corresponding compartments on the collection truck. It’s estimated that the crew handles more than 4,000 blue bins each week.
Yet, it all starts with city residents that voluntarily participate in the curbside program. Residents that have garbage pickup provided by the city can also request one to three blue recycling bins depending on the size of their household. If you have a garbage cart but no recycling bin, call Public Works at 706-278-7077 to request delivery. The pickup date for recyclables and household trash is the same. On your collection day, place the blue bin at the curb next to your garbage cart.
Items that can be recycled at the curb include newspapers, magazines, and other paper products that are clean and dry. Cardboard boxes that have been broken down or flattened and folded down to three feet or less. Also collected are aluminum and bi-metals cans; glass bottles and jars colored brown, blue, green, or clear; and plastic bottles, jars, and jugs with screw on lids. Containers that are being set aside for recycling need to be rinsed out, and be free of food residue and other liquids. It’s ok to leave the labels and lids on the containers.
To help drivers sort quicker, residents are encouraged to place all paper in one bin and containers in another. Or if you only have one bin, place all paper on the bottom and containers on top. Avoid over loading the bin and causing litter by breaking down and flattening all boxes and crushing plastic and aluminum containers.
Recycling instructions are available online at the City’s website: www.cityofdalton-ga.gov. Click on Departments, then Public Works, and Recycling Instructions to watch instructional videos and download the one-page recycling guide. With so many benefits that come from recycling, the City of Dalton has truly made a long-term commitment to keeping useful materials out of the landfill and conserving natural resources.
Liz Swafford is the Recycling and Education Program Coordinator for the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority. Contact her at 706-278-5001, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.