What’s the weight equivalent of 117 school buses? That’s the 1,461.8 tons, or 2,923,600 pounds, of materials that residents in the city of Dalton recycled in 2018 through the city’s curbside recycling program.
Voluntary recycling at the curb has been in place since 1991, making 2018 the 27th year residents have been placing the little blue bins at the curb.
Recycling is the process of taking a product at the end of its useful life and remanufacturing it into a new product that can be used again. 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. As a result, materials that are recycled help save the energy and water that would have been used to make a product from virgin or raw materials.
Because materials that are being recycled are not thrown away, recycling helps save space in our local landfill, which has a limited amount of space to bury garbage. It’s estimated that the 1,461.8 tons recycled last year saved the equivalent of 2,436 cubic yards of landfill space.
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 pick up recyclables from the blue bins. Each driver will separate the recyclables in the bins by hand into corresponding compartments on the collection truck.
But the recycling for the city starts at your curb. Besides having a gray garbage cart for household trash, residents should have 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 arrange delivery. The pickup date for recyclables and household trash is the same.
The drivers handle over 4,000 blue bins each week. 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.
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 are accepted. Also, 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.
When the curbside truck is full it goes to the authority’s recycling center located on the same property as the Old Dixie Highway Landfill and Convenience Center. Employees there will further sort the items into several categories like cardboard only, aluminum cans, brown glass bottles and colored plastic jugs. After sorting, materials are baled and stored until there are enough bales to fill up a tractor-trailer to send out to manufacturers.
If you’re a city resident that has garbage pickup through the public works department, but don’t have a recycling bin, take a moment to call public works to request a bin. 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.