By Jean Cole
The city of Athens’ decision to buy wheeled recycling carts and switch to single-stream recycling Aug. 1 seems to have lured more residents into recycling.
Grant Coordinator and Communications Specialist Holly Hollman told City Council members during their meeting Monday the city picked up 20 tons of recyclables in June, 21 tons in July and 31 tons in August, a large increase in participation.
Council members approved a request from Sanitation Director Earl Glaze to buy 549 more carts now needed for the program. The city will pay SSI Schaefer Systems up to $27,500 for the additional blue 96-gallon carts.
For the past 23 years, residents who chose to recycle have had to separate each type of recyclable material and place it into a bin and carry the bin to the curb. Sanitation workers had to stand at curbside and sort the recyclables into a specially designed recycling truck with passing vehicles posing a risk. That risk was eliminated with the new carts because each garbage truck’s hydraulic arms lifts and empties the carts into the truck. It is then sorted at the recycling center in Decatur.
The city now accepts No. 1 and 2 plastics in the carts, but not glass or Nos. 3-7 plastics. Cardboard can be broken down to fit inside the carts or taken to the recycling center in Athens. The carts are picked up on the first and third Mondays west of U.S. 31 and on the second and fourth Mondays east of U.S. 31.