Decatur considers other options for glass recycling
The days of being able to recycle everything without sorting it may be coming to an end in Decatur.
Assistant City Manager David Junger told city commissioners on March 21 that Pratt Industries of Conyers, Ga. has informed the city that effective June 1 it will no longer accept recycling materials that contain glass. The city’s agreement with contractor Latham Home Sanitation requires pick up of glass recycling through June 30.
Junger said the city has a few months to figure out an alternative method of recycling this material. City Commissioners approved an 4.2 percent increase in the single family residential garbage collection fee, raising it from $240 to $250 per unit. Depending on how the city decides to deal with glass recycling, that fee could go up again, Junger said.
“At this point all of the options we have looked at result in an additional increase in the fee, including taking it to the landfill,” Junger said.
Other governments in the metro area are reconsidering their recycling practices in light of the problems associated with glass. DeKalb County recently signaled it may stop taking glass products. Avondale Estates has already stopped accepting glass. The problem is that broken glass contaminates other recyclable materials.
“Single stream is not working very well for glass recycling,” Junger said. “Basically the end result is creating more garbage that ends up having to go to the landfill anyway.”
Mayor Patti Garrett said that if glass goes to a landfill, it will cost the city more.
“It is going to have a cost if we start putting glass in a landfill,” she said. “We may have more problems with bags breaking with trash.”
Junger said the city would seek input from residents about the best way to handle glass recycling.
“We will be working hard over the next two months to reach out to our community, find out what’s important to us and how we need to move forward,” Junger said.
Junger said he also wants to “challenge the Atlanta markets” to find a way to effectively process single stream recycling that includes glass.
“I’ve been less than pleased with the reason for some of the change,” Junger said. “Other places have learned to separate the materials better and I’m just not so sure we’re [not] taking kind of an easy way out answer.”