With the city now being paid for recyclables rather than paying someone to take them, Augusta Solid Waste is making being environmentally conscious more user-friendly.
Starting in November, the landfill off Deans Bridge Road will open a dumping center for residential users and begin taking glass, electronics, motor oil and batteries for recycling.
The landfill will also recycle televisions, many of which are likely to be discarded after the digital transition in February. The nearest recycling center, the North Augusta Regional Material Recovery Facility, doesn't process them.
The city has already made cutting waste at home easier with new recycling containers, but only about 10 percent of garbage customers are using them, according to Solid Waste Assistant Director Lori Videtto.
In early 2007, Solid Waste began stocking blue-lidded roll carts, which at 64 gallons hold almost as much as trash cans. Instructions on what's accepted are affixed to the tops.
Residents can mix in newspapers, junk mail, computer paper, aluminum cans, plastic bottles, phone books, cardboard and empty aerosol cans, among other things, then roll it to the curb rather than lugging the rectangular buckets available before.
But a year and a half later, only 5,778 of about 60,000 trash customers have the containers, Ms. Videtto said. Delivering them to every customer would have cost around $1 million, an expense the department couldn't afford, she said.
Rather than launching an informational campaign about the containers, Solid Waste has left it to residents to request them, counting on only serious recyclers doing so. Ms. Videtto said the hope is that if one person on a street has a new cart, neighbors will want one, too, and they'll gradually catch on.
Two thousand of them are sitting at the landfill waiting to be distributed. They cost the city $50 apiece, but trash customers aren't charged for them.
"All people have to do is call and ask for them," Ms. Videtto said. "Instead of having one large capital expense, we just staggered it out."
Solid Waste began stocking the carts around the same time it stopped taking its recyclables to the North Augusta facility, which charged about $25 per ton, and started hauling to facilities in metro Atlanta, earning Augusta about $60 per ton. Recyclables currently go to Pratt Industries and SP Recycling, and glass will go to Strategic Materials, Ms. Videtto said.
Augusta's recycling program has been making a slight profit of $10 per ton this year, with the money being used to buy more carts, she said.
The new dumping center will have drive-up stations for recyclables, household garbage, yard waste, tires and bulk waste such as furniture, with city employees on hand to help. Ms. Videtto said she doesn't want residents slogging around in the mud of the landfill, dumping side-by-side with city and commercial trucks.
"I don't want any small vehicles in the landfill anymore," she said. "It's just not safe."
Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT'S RECYCLABLE IN AUGUSTA
In curbside bins:
- Aluminum cans
- Aluminum foil
- Tin, steel and metal cans
- Empty aerosol cans
- Jar lids
- Plastic bottles and milk containers
- Plastic detergent bottles
- Newspapers & magazines
- Junk mail
- Books and phone books
- Computer paper
- Notebook paper
- Paper-based egg cartons
- Cereal boxes
- Paper bags
- Frozen food packages
NOTE: Anything contaminated with food will be rejected.
AT THE LANDFILL, CURBSIDE AS A BULK WASTE PICKUP:
AT THE LANDFILL AT 4330 DEANS BRIDGE ROAD, STARTING NOV. 1:
- Glass of all colors
- Used auto oil
- Batteries (all kinds but lead-acid)
- Computers, computer components, telephones and any other electronics with circuit boards
NOT RECYCLABLE, BUT ACCEPTED AT THE LANDFILL:
- Plastic grocery bags
- Plastic-coated cardboard, such as juice boxes and Lean Cuisine boxes
- Packing peanuts
- Photographic paper
- Gift wrapping paper
NOT RECYCLABLE OR ACCEPTED AT LANDFILL:
- Hazardous wastes
- Wet paint (Dry it with cat litter or sand first)
- Large quantities of free liquid
To have a 64-gallon roll cart for recyclables delivered to your home, call Solid Waste at (706) 592-3200.