Curbside Champions

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Weighing in at 2,427,800 pounds, Dalton, Georgia! In 2017, the City of Dalton Public Works Department collected that many pounds of recyclables as part of their Curbside Recycling Program. Little by little, bottle by bottle, Dalton residents helped keep waste out of the landfill and created new products through recycling. Their combined efforts saved 2,023 cubic yards of landfill space which aids in extending the life of the Old Dixie Highway landfill located in Whitfield County. 

The amount recycled is equivalent to the weight of eighty-three school buses! If only one type of material had been collected, the 1,214 tons that were recycled would be the weight equivalent of 244,718,168 sheets of paper or the weight equivalent of 73,908,152 empty aluminum cans. That would mean each resident would have recycled 2,169 cans!

When you put something in your blue bin to be recycled instead of throwing it away it is sent to manufacturers that use recycled material to make their products. This helps conserve our natural resources and can save energy in production. If you recycled one aluminum can, it could save enough energy to run your TV for almost three hours.

The Curbside Recycling program was instated in 1991 and continues today thanks to the City of Dalton Public Works Department. The program is entirely voluntary for residents of Dalton. To receive a blue bin for recycling pick-up, call Public Works at 706-278-7077. You may request up to three recycling bins for free depending on the size of your household. 

The blue bins are picked up once a week by the curbside recycling team. They sort and separate each item in the blue bins by hand and deposit into various compartments in the collection truck. The drivers handle over 4,000 blue bins each week. It is through their work that Dalton was able to recycle 1,213.9 tons in 2017.

Inside the blue bins, multiple types of items can be recycled. Residents can recycle paper, cardboard, glass, aluminum, bi-metal cans, and plastic jugs and bottles. It is fine to leave the labels and lids on containers inside the bin, but there are some important rules to make sure that your item ends up at the recycling center.

Items that cannot be accepted for recycling include any soiled items or waxed paper and cardboard. Make sure that any materials put into your recycling bin are clean and contain no food residue. When the materials are mixed together for the process of recycling, food waste from one container can contaminate the other materials and cause problems such as mold or bacteria as they are stored before recycling.

The process of recycling paper includes mixing the paper in a big tub of water and chemicals to turn the paper into slurry. The oil and fat from food residue won’t mix with the water. It instead mixes with the slurry used to form new paper. This makes the paper extremely low quality and, therefore, unusable. It is also important to remember the colors blue, brown, green, and clear because only glass with those colors can be recycled in Dalton. Here’s a fun fact; the clear glass recycled in Dalton is often sent to Louisiana to become hot sauce bottles.

To make the process easier, you do not have to separate your recycling into different bins before it is picked up, but there are good and bad ways to pack your bin. If you only have one bin, place all of the paper on the bottom and containers on top. Avoid littering your street by overloading the bin which can be helped by crushing plastic and aluminum containers and breaking down or flattening boxes. Please, consider that the drivers are doing a hands-on job so make sure glass is visible and not broken.

Recycling instructions are available online at the City of Dalton website: Click on Departments, then Public Works, and Recycling Instructions to watch instructional videos and download the one-page recycling guide. Through this program, the City of Dalton is improving the community and the world by saving landfill space and natural resources.