The Complete Guide to Atlanta Recycling & Waste Disposal
Learn How and Where to Recycle in Atlanta
Hotlanta, the Gate City, the ‘A’! However you identify the city of Atlanta, there’s no denying its identity as a green city. From its robust recycling program to its vast network of community gardens, Atlanta offers its residents a vast array of ways to maintain a green lifestyle. Currently, the city is on the move to improve its recycling programs by bringing more participants into the system through a robust collection service called Cartlanta. Enacted in 2013, Cartlanta increased recycling rates by 23% in its first year, and has grown ever since. It is a promising return on investment for the city whch currently aims to divert 90% of recyclables from area landfills by the end of the decade.
Want to do your part to achieve a 90% recycling rate for the city? Here, you’ll find a number of local shops, businesses, organizations, and city programs that will allow you to recycle, and responsibly dispose of, virtually anything you have on your hands, from automotive parts to food waste.
Automotive parts can be both pricey and inexpensive. But regardless of whether you spent $250 on your brand-new rims, or $25 on plastic hub caps, one thing is always certain – your car will eventually break down. When that happens you want to ensure that whatever parts or fluids are left over are disposed of properly with minimal impact on the environment.
Car battery recycling is relatively easy; all you have to do is take it to a local shop or recycling center that accepts them. You’ll also find that many auto parts stores accept them for a small fee or in exchange for purchase of a new battery.
There are millions of cars on the road today, and a huge chunk of them get traded-in, donated, or junked every day. In Atlanta, there are quite a few places where you can take your old Buick and ensure that it is either recycled or donated to someone in need.
Tires are great at keeping you on the road, but once they wear down to the rim they are pretty much useless, unless you recycle them. You can take your old tires to virtually any auto parts supplier in Atlanta and exchange them when you buy brand new tires (additional fees may apply). They’ll send them off to be recycled while you roll out with a fresh set of rubber.
The city of Atlanta does not offer household hazardous waste collection, but there are other ways to dispose of your old automotive fluids. Most chain auto parts stores will accept your old fuel, motor oil, and lubricants for a small fee. You’ll also find some Atlanta businesses that specialize in hazardous waste disposal.
Construction materials are bulky, heavy, and particularly cumbersome when it comes to disposal. Not only do they take up a tremendous amount of space, they are also generally not disposable through curbside services. Fortunately, there are plenty of recycling facilities and stations in Atlanta that will take your construction and demolition debris.
Anything can become scrap metal if you put your mind to it. An old dishwasher, the metal cabinetry in your kitchen, even the old Radio Flyer wagon that’s sitting on the front porch. If it’s made of metal, you can almost certainly recycle it through any of these local recycling companies. Some will even pay you for your aluminum, brass, copper, iron, and steel scrap.
Shingles, the staple crop of the roofing world. You might consider these flat stacks of asphalt to be unrecyclable, but in really they can be recycled into a variety of things, including the kind of asphalt used to pave roads. All you have to do is get in touch with the right business and they’ll gladly recycle your old shingles.
Have a smorgasbord of construction materials lying around? If it’s all in good condition, you can take it to a local nonprofit where they can resell it all and keep it out of the landfill. You can also recycle most construction debris through local recyclers that take things like concrete and asphalt and use them to make new construction materials.
E-waste, or electronic waste, is the fastest growing waste stream across the world. In 2011, 41.5 million tons worth of computers, cell phones, printers, and other electronics were discarded globally. That figure is set to rise to 93.5 million tons in 2016. That’s why e-waste recycling is becoming ever more important in cities across the country, including Atlanta.
Unlike other appliances, refrigerators can be a bit of a nuisance to get rid of because of the special disposal requirements necessary to dispose of the refrigerants. Fortunately, there are businesses around the city that can handle that for you, and recycle the rest of it too! Of course, if you’re fridge is still humming along you could also donate it to one of your local charities.
When it comes to your old appliances, you generally have two options: junk it or donate it. Atlanta has a number of organizations that will accept working appliances including dishwashers, ovens, and dryers. If your appliances are a bit, shall we say, busted you can recycle them instead.
Televisions are invaluable for spreading vital information about the goings-on of society, whether it’s an emergency broadcast or Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Yet all good things come to an end at some point, including our TVs. Once you upgrade your tube to the latest and greatest tech, be sure you take it to one of the recycling centers or donation sites listed below.
Cell phones have come a long way since the days of the Nokia Tune, but they are no less recyclable now than they were back in the 90’s. And with the advent of the smartphone, your phone donations are even more valuable than before.
Reformatting? It might be time to kick your computer to the curb, sort of speak. If you have an old, obsolete, or broken computer you can easily find a way to recycle or donate it, rather than junking it. Not only will you help keep the environment clean, but you will also help out others in need.
Atlanta runs its own recycling program, appropriately called Cartlanta. Since 2012, every Atlanta resident has received a blue recycling cart that allows them to recycle everything from junk mail to jugs of sweet tea. Just three months after the program’s introduction, Cartlanta had increased recycling rates by 23% and has been climbing ever since.
Outside the city limits, residents can recycle their paper, plastics, glass, and metals through any of these local recycling centers:
The household is a place for family. Unfortunately, a family brings a whole lot of extra baggage with it that tends to be forgotten in a crawlspace or a corner of the basement. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to handle all of those odds and ends, from clothing to old medicine, if you know where to go.
Time to upgrade the wardrobe? Cleaning out the closet? If so, make sure you take those old glad rags to the right place. If your closet stuffers are fit for wear, then consider taking them to a local charity who can ensure that they’ll be given to a good home.
Mattresses are full of stuffing, padding, coils, and textiles. By themselves, these items are pretty easy to recycle, but once you put them altogether they become a bit hard to separate. That’s why your options are somewhat limited for getting rid of your old mattresses. There are some charities that will take your gently used mattress and refurbish it. But if there’s no more spring in your box spring, then it might be time to junk it through one of these transfer stations.
Have some yard waste piling up on your property? Consider taking those bushels of leaves to a local compost & recycling center. Have some food scraps you’d like to return to the earth? Consider using a local composting service!
For Everything Else:
Household Hazardous Waste
The city of Atlanta does not provide its own municipal services for disposing of household hazardous waste. However, the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials provides Fulton and Dekalb County residents with a drop off center that can handle hazardous materials such as household chemicals, smoke detectors, thermometers, bulbs, and more.
1110 Hill Street SE
Atlanta, GA. 30315
Tuesday & Thursday 9am-4pm
You can also take your assorted debris to any of these local landfills. However, some of these sites are specific to a particular type of debris. Make sure you take your construction & demolition debris to a landfill that accepts these items.
Chadwick Road Landfill (C&D Only)
13700 Chadwick Farm Blvd.
Roswell, GA 30075
MetroGreen Recycling (C&D Only)
4351 Pleasantdale Road
Atlanta, GA 30340
Willow Oak C&D Waste Landfill (C&D Only)
7395 Roosevelt Hwy
Fairburn, GA 30213
Seminole Road Landfill (MSW & CD)
4203 Clevemont Road
Ellenwood, GA 30294
Bolton Road Landfill
2236 Bolton Road NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
Recycling Success Stories in Atlanta
What Matters Most to ‘Matter Boutique’ is Sustainability
Matter Boutique is a local shop/workshop that designs and crafts its own wooden furniture and art pieces using reclaimed wood. The shop is run by a husband-wide duo who believe very strongly in the idea of art as a statement on sustainability. They derive immense satisfaction in taking something that was discarded and forgotten and turning it into something that people will enjoy and cherish for years.
All of the reclaimed wood they use comes from charities, like Goodwill and Salvation Army, as well as community sales and local suppliers; utilizing the full resources of Atlanta’s local communities to recycle as much wood as possible.
Atlanta’s CHaRM Offensive Against Hazardous Waste
Live Thrive Atlanta started out as recently as 2010 to create a community that cares for its environmental health and well-being. What began as a blog quickly sprouted into a center for education in how to keep the city and its communities free of hazardous waste. The group organized the city’s first household hazardous waste collection in September of 2010 and later founded the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) where residents can take everything from paint to beer cans and expect to see it all recycled or properly disposed of.
The center fills a vital gap in the city’s waste management systems, allowing for safe disposal of all sorts of items that would otherwise sit in residents’ garage or basements. Since its inception, the center has helped dispose of 12,000 tires, 13,657 gallons of chemicals, and 6,175 lbs. of carpet.