Athens-Clarke County, GA Recycling for All Policy

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Athens-Clarke County, GA, US

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Type: Policy

Status: Adopted on 11/6/07

Source File:


I. POLICY SUBJECT: Recycling Policy for all Athens-Clarke County Unified Government Buildings and Facilities

FUNCTIONAL AREA: All Departments, programs and employees



A. “Commingled” means mixed together.
B. “Contamination” means any non-recyclable material.
C. “End-Market” means a place that accepts recyclable material and makes it into a usable commodity.
D. “Processor” means a place that receives recyclable material, processes the material (example: baling the material), and sells the material to an end-market.
E. “Recyclable material” means any type of waste designated by the Unified Government Solid Waste Department through guidelines issued under this policy to be separated for recycling.
F. “Source separated” means recyclable materials are separated at the source or generator of the material (i.e. the Department and/or Division level).

The purpose of this statement is to establish a recycling policy in all Unified Government buildings and facilities and to articulate the instructions, standards and expectations for the storage, separation, collection and/or transportation of recyclable material to the Athens-Clarke County Recovered Materials Processing Facility or proper processor and/or end market.


A. Indoor Collection Container Requirements
(1) Commingled Paper Container(s)
a. The Solid Waste Department will provide standard desk-side paper recycling containers for every government employee’s office or work area.
b. The solid waste department will provide larger multi-user recycling containers (roll-carts) to departments that generate large quantities of paper for recycling.
c. All multi-user containers must be clearly labeled and conveniently located for use by all employees and the general public.
d. Individual Departments are responsible for the maintenance, including cleaning, of all indoor recycling containers.
(2) Commingled Bottle and Can Container(s)
a. The Solid Waste Department will provide larger multi-user recycling containers (roll-carts) to departments for commingled bottle and can collection.
b. All multi-user recycling containers must be clearly labeled and conveniently located for use by all employees and the general public.
c. Individual Departments are responsible for the maintenance, including cleaning, of all indoor containers.
B. Outdoor Collection Container Requirements. Each department with large outdoor facilities (i.e.: Leisure Services, Transit at the Multi-Modal Center, etc.) shall provide adequate outdoor recycling containers for the general public. The recycling containers should be located next to existing trash receptacles. Departments are responsible for the minimization of contamination in the recycling containers through container construction and location; education (signage) and regular collection and minor separation as needed.
C. Source (Departmental) Separation of Traditional Recyclable Material. It shall be the responsibility of each department to separate all designated recyclable material from other waste as follows:
(1) Commingled Paper. All materials shall be stored loose or in clear bags only. Materials include:
a. Newspapers. Wet or yellowed newsprint is not acceptable.
b. Junk Mail/Mixed Paper. Includes white and colored ledger and copier paper, computer paper, and loose-leaf fillers. Wet or yellowed paper is not acceptable.
c. Magazines/Catalogs/Telephone books and coated glossy papers including stapled catalogs, glossy fillers or mailers with the exception of wet material or material that was once wet.
d. Plastic-coated paper beverage and food cartons. Includes milk cartons and juice boxes.
e. Brown Paper Bags.
f. Paperboard/Boxboard. Boxes which have gray, brown or white interior linings.
g. Corrugated Cardboard. All old corrugated containers must be flattened. Staples and tape do not have to be removed. The cardboard may be damp, but not soaking wet.
h. Shredded paper. If shredded paper is being placed in a Solid Waste Department dumpster and/or roll-cart for collection, the paper must be clear bagged to prevent litter. All departments using shredding services for large scale document destruction should have shreds recycled by the shredding company.
(2) Commingled Containers. All containers must be emptied and rinsed but labels can remain on the containers. All materials shall be stored loose or in clear bags only. Materials include:
a. Steel, tin, and bi-metal containers. Include containers made entirely of iron or steel.
b. Aluminum. Includes used beverage and food containers, foil, and food trays clean of foods and/or liquids.
c. Glass. Includes all clear, amber, green, and blue colored beverage and food jars and bottles. Lids should be removed.
d. PETE Plastic Bottles (SPI code #1). Includes clear PETE containers such as soda bottles, soap bottles, and similar items. Lids should be removed.
e. HDPE Plastic Bottles (SPI code #2). Includes blow-molded closed mouth natural, clear, and colored HDPE containers generally consisting of plastic milk jugs, water bottles, detergent bottles, and similar items. Lids should be removed.
(3) Non-traditional Recyclable Materials. All departments shall recycle non-traditional recyclable materials when applicable. These items should be delivered to the Athens-Clarke County Recovered Processing Facility for processing or arrange for a special pick-up with the Solid Waste Department. Non-traditional materials include:
a. Batteries including alkaline and rechargeable.
b. Cell phones and accessories.
c. Electronic Equipment.
d. Fluorescent bulbs including tubes and compact bulbs. Unbroken ones only. ACC government building and/or facility bulbs will be collected at the time of replacement by staff of the Facility Maintenance Division of the Central Services Department or individual department maintenance crews. The individual department maintenance crews will be responsible for the delivery of the tubes to the Facility Maintenance Division for disposal.
e. Hardback books.
f. Inkjet printer and toner cartridges.
g. Plastic bags and/or wraps
h. Scrap metal. Must be delivered to the Athens-Clarke County Landfill.
i. Scrap tires. (Fees associated with the recycling of this material $3.00 per standard passenger tire or light truck tire and $10.00 per commercial truck tire.) Must be delivered to the Athens-Clarke County Landfill.
D. Targeted Recyclable Materials List. The Solid Waste Department shall reserve the right to add or eliminate recyclable materials from the list.
E. Collection of Source (Departmental) Separated Recyclable Material.
(1) Departmental Collection Responsibilities.
a. Individual departments are responsible for the consolidation of both source separated bottle and can and paper material. Consolidation shall be in separate dumpsters and/or roll-carts provided by the Solid Waste Department. Departments using roll-carts should place them outside for collection on the assigned collection day.
b. Departments with contracted janitorial services should put language in the bid for services that indicate the recycling collection responsibilities/duties required of their contract employees.
c. The Solid Waste Department will offer weekly collection services to all Unified Government buildings and facilities that are located within the Urban Service District (former city limits of Athens). Buildings and facilities in the General Service District that produce at least one full 64-gallon roll-cart of source separated recyclable material per week will be collected by the Solid Waste Department. Smaller quantity generators should self-haul recyclables to the Athens-Clarke County Recovered Materials Processing Facility, nearest drop-off site or designated departmental consolidation area for collection.
F. Event Recycling. All events sponsored or permitted by the Unified Government through a special events permit shall require provision for recycling services. The Recycling Division shall provide event recycling containers for use through a registration process (see Attachment A).
G. Department Recycling Coordinator. Each Department Director shall designate one person from each facility as the point of contact (recycling coordinator) with the Recycling Division. The recycling coordinator responsibilities include the following:
(1) Attendance at quarterly recycling coordinator meetings.
(2) Education and promotion of programs and/or procedure changes.
(3) Coordination of special events hosted by the Recycling Division (current list of applicable events: Clean Your Files Day, America Recycles Day and GreenFest activities).
(4) Compilation of recycling data as necessary.
(5) Miscellaneous troubleshooting.
H. Common Contamination Issues
(1) The Solid Waste Department will make every effort to work with fellow departments to correct any contamination issues through verbal and written communication.
The following is a list of common contamination issues:
a. Improperly separated recyclable material. Mixed paper and bottle and can material.
b. Improperly stored recyclable material. Recyclable materials placed in pigmented bags (black, blue, white, etc.) instead of clear bags or loose.
c. Contaminated recyclables. Materials which are not listed in Section C, commingled paper and bottle and can material. A common list of items that can not be recycled in the current recycling program are as follows: used napkins/paper towels; facial tissue; paper plates and cups,: waxed boxes; windows and mirrors; Pyrex; ceramics; plastic wrap; foil gift wrap; foil-lined envelopes; paper printed with metallic ink; plastic-coated paper; photographs and Styrofoam.

Any and all exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Mayor & Commission of the Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County.

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