Jul 26, 2014

Op-Ed: Time to 'Get a Bin'

DeKalb Commissioner Kathie Gannon on free recycling.

Op-Ed: Time to 'Get a Bin' Op-Ed: Time to 'Get a Bin'

The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners recently took a big step to make DeKalb County greener. Last Tuesday the Board voted to eliminate the initial $30 sign-up fee for curbside recycling. It’s time for more DeKalb residents to recycle.

While our county is among the leaders in recycling in metro Atlanta, still only 21% of the eligible households in DeKalb currently recycle. The county has a goal to increase recycling to 40%, the national standard. In addition to dropping the recycling registration fee, we’ve also established a modest marketing campaign to reach more citizens.

It’s my hope that the elimination of the recycling fee is just the jump start needed for residents to get behind this.  

In just two days after the fee was dropped, over 500 households signed up for recycling. If you were not one of them, just go the website to register or call the DeKalb Sanitation Division at 404 294-2900. The recycling bin and bags will be delivered to your home.  

Recycling currently generates $600,000 in revenue annually for the DeKalb Sanitation Fund. These help reduce overall sanitation costs. When you consider that each American creates about 1,600 pounds of solid waste each year, you’ll understand the big opportunity we have. More than half the waste that goes to the Seminole Road Landfill could have been recycled.

I’ve recycled at my home for many years. It’s a habit you get used to, like wearing your seatbelt or turning out lights when you leave a room. It just takes a minute and it makes me feel good that I’m conserving our country’s natural resources. The benefits of recycling are not only environmental, they’re economic.

  • Georgia is a leading carpet manufacturing state and much of that industry relies upon recycled plastic as a raw material for making carpet. Mohawk Industries operates a plastic recycling manufacturing facility in north Georgia that employs 300 people. One-third of all recycled plastic bottles in North America make their way to Georgia’s carpet industry, but if plastic bottles are thrown away, they never disintegrate.
  • SP Newsprint, which is headquartered in metro Atlanta, employs over 600 people in various manufacturing plants in Georgia and the southeast.
  • Novelis headquartered in Atlanta recycles aluminum and employs over 11,000 people in 11 countries. Green jobs are real jobs and a growth industry.

If you’re already recycling, thank you. If you’re not, visit our website to find out how to recycle and to register. So get a bin—it’s free—and join us in turning our trash into a valuable resource.

Kathie Gannon has served on the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners since January, 2005 representing Super District 6, the western half of DeKalb County with approximately 400,000 residents. She provides leadership on environmental and sustainability issues through the establishment of the DeKalb County Green Commission, the development of the Sustainability Plan and initiating the curbside recycling program in DeKalb County.

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